Tours, ‘home performance’ demos to highlight green Ponchatoula house Nov. 12

Claudette Reichel  |  10/24/2009 1:07:01 AM

An affordable “high-performance” demonstration home in Ponchatoula will be open Nov. 12 for free tours and live demonstrations of home performance testing.

The house was built to meet high energy-efficiency, durability, “healthy home” and green building standards, according to Claudette Reichel, housing specialist with the LSU AgCenter and director of the demonstration program.

“This is a unique opportunity to see first-hand what really makes the difference in how a home performs and feels – and why,” Reichel said, adding, “Today, a house can and should offer so much more than just shelter and style in return for your investment.”

Special events include a live blower door, duct blaster and other techniques to verify quality, measure performance and qualify a house for incentive programs and certifications such as Energy Star Homes and the Green Building Standard.

Educational materials also will be available on best practices for building or improving homes in a hot, humid climate.

Open house for the general public will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., with demonstrations at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Housing professionals, including realtors, lenders, appraisers and inspectors, are invited to attend a special program from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. that includes lunch, a tour, demonstrations and a presentation on financial incentives for energy efficient homes. These visitors should reserve a place by contacting Jennifer Alphonse at 985-386-4590 or

The house is located in Ponchatoula’s Pine Island subdivision, which is off of U.S Hwy. 51 Business Route, 1 mile south of Interstate 12. Look for Lot 80 at 161 Jack Pine Lane.

The Ponchatoula house is an example of a Gulf Region High-Performance (GRHP) home, which goes beyond minimum-code requirements. It has:

– High energy-efficiency. It will use at least 25 percent less energy than most new homes and 40 percent less than typical existing homes.

– High comfort. It can be cool in summer and warm in winter without high utility bills or uncomfortable high humidity.

– High durability. It is built to last with special detailing to prevent water leaks and moisture problems such as decay and mold.

– High indoor air quality. It is a healthful place in which to live and breathe. This feature is made possible by building tight and venting right, with effective humidity control and air filtration.

“Even with all these advantages, the Ponchatoula home was designed to be affordable to buy, even more affordable to own and expected to grow in value more than standard homes lacking the high-performance advantages,” Reichel said.

“Low maintenance, low utility bills and low hassle mean more time and money to enjoy home and life,” she added.

Reichel noted this demonstration home was designed to meet the standards to earn the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Home label and the American National Standards Institute’s Green Building Standard bronze certification – all within the price range of similar homes.

The Ponchatoula GRHP demonstration home is being built by Southern Homes in partnership with LSU AgCenter’s LaHouse Resource Center, the U.S. Department of Energy Building America Program and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Energy Program.

For research-based information on housing, horticulture, family finance and more, visit


Mark Claesgens

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