2017 Small Residential
Charis Homes is a custom homebuilder located in Northeastern Ohio. Founded by Todd Scott and Glenna Wilson in 2003, they have become a top-rated residential contractor by focusing on providing a “quieter, healthier home that is durable, more valuable and gentler on the environment from the ground up.”
Wilson says, “Our priority is on energy efficiency and high quality products that far exceed building codes.” With a dual emphasis on efficiency and durability, it’s no surprise that ICFs are a major part of their business. In fact, they submitted five homes to last year’s ICF Builder Award competition. Stone Creek, a four-bedroom, three-bath residence in Canton, scored the highest.
Wilson estimates that using ICFs for the exterior walls added $20,000 to the cost of the 2,570-sq.-ft. residence, but says the quality compensates for the additional cost. “ICFs are becoming a sought after building method not because of ‘marketing efforts’ but simply because owners are seeing the added value of a living space that is disaster resilient, energy efficient, quiet, and exceedingly comfortable.”
She adds, “We market ICF as the ‘Mercedes’ of houses and remind new builders that they have an amazing opportunity to build a house that will have value for a long time. When our customers see the benefits of building with ICFs, it’s an easy decision.”
Stone Creek uses ICF for all above- and below-grade exterior walls. Charis chose BuildBlock as the ICF building system because, Wilson says, “we believe it to be the strongest and most installer friendly ICF. Our construction teams love working with it.”
The house was a custom plan with many corners and several wall heights. As an additional complication, the house was constructed through the winter of 2014-15, which was an extremely cold winter with several days of record-setting low temperatures.
Crews pressed on despite the cold, and as ICFs insulate the concrete as it cures, there were no construction delays despite the frigid weather.
The home is Energy-Star certified (verified by a third-party energy rater) and is expected to gain certification as a U.S. Dept. of Energy “Zero Energy Ready Home.” All of the windows are high-efficiency glass, and were carefully caulked to ensure an airtight fit. The wood-framed roof and gables are insulated with cellulose batts installed over a layer of spray foam insulation.
The HVAC system is tied to a 97% efficient Carrier Infinity Furnace with zoned controls, with a high efficiency Navien unit for hot water.
Promotional literature claims owners can “save up to 71% in energy costs with Charis Homes,” and Stone Creek proves the point. During the first two years of occupancy, the owners have average $120 per month, about 40% of the regional average.
Wilson reports that project was a “huge success” and the builders and the owners are both more than satisfied.
While Charis emphasizes the efficiency and durability of ICFs, for the owners of Stone Creek, it’s possible that the biggest benefit is the improved air quality ICF homes provide.
Wilson states, “The owners have a son who, since birth, has had terrible asthma. Before building this ICF home they lived in an older traditional house and his lung condition grew progressively worse. On average he was receiving three breathing treatments per week. Just months after moving into their new home, their sons condition drastically improved. He grew several inches, regained his appetite, and has needed breathing treatments less and less. Over the past six months, he’s had three breathing treatments total. The low air infiltration from the ICF walls have provided a clean living environment for the whole family. “
Location: Canton, Ohio
Type: Private Residence
Size: 2,570 sq. ft.(floor)
ICF Use: 4,098 sq. ft.
Total Construction: 36 weeks
ICF Installation time: 7 days
Owner+General Contractor: Charis Homes
ICF Installer: Norro Construction
Form Distributor: ICF Solutions of Ohio
ICF System: BuildBlock
Winter construction season
Eliminated breathing treatments for occupant