Raleigh green home wins remodeling award

Posted April 21, 2013 3:28 p.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2013 11:29 p.m. EDT

— A Triangle home builder was recognized recently for using sustainable design and green upgrades to help homes sell quickly while turning a profit.

Jeff Wiblitzhouser of Paradise Found Construction in Cary received this year's National Home Builders Association Green Certified Remodeling Award for his work on a home at 510 Picardy Place on Raleigh, located off Glenwood Avenue behind the Oak Park Shopping Center. 

The home was on display during the 8th annual Triangle Green Home Tour this weekend. 

Last year, John Miller, the power of attorney for the elderly homeowner, decided the house had to be sold to pay for her long-term care, but he didn't want the 50-year-old brick ranch home sitting on the market for months.

"The house was built in 1963 and still had the original electrical and plumbing fixtures with dark wood paneling," Miller said in a news release. "We could sell the house in the condition it was in or invest in needed updates. We didn't realize how valuable a green certification could be."

After Wiblitzhouser's $85,000 renovation, the home sold for more than $250,000 in just three days. A realtor had originally suggested listing the home for $150,000.

Wiblitzhouser said he spent the lion's share of the renovation budget on improving the kitchen and bathrooms, including installing granite counter tops, porcelain tile and stainless steel appliances. He also put in beautiful hardwood floors, removed the wood paneling, opened up the floor plan and replaced the cabinetry.

"When you come inside, it's almost a 'wow,'" Wiblitzhouser said.  

But the real wow factor lies in its energy efficiency. 

The renovations decreased the home's over energy usage by more than 20 percent and its water usage by more than 50 percent.

"We spent under $5,000 to bring this home up to a green certification level," Wiblitzhouser said.

That included eliminating air leakage throughout the house by sealing doors and windows and adding insulation. Energy Star appliances – such as low-flow toilets and water sense faucets – were installed and the HVAC duct work was redone. 

The upgrades worked well for the homeowner in this case, but Wiblitzhouser cautioned homeowners who are only renovating so they can sell.

"The changes you make may not appeal to buyers," he said.