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Eco-friendly townhomes


05/20/10



Super Bebris, a Latvia-based eco-friendly home-building company, is building its first homes in America in Manchester.

Near the Elliot at River’s Edge project, Super Bebris (www.bebris.lv/eng) is working to make the eco-townhome community Baltic Townhomes at River’s Edge available in June.
The homes will be more than 1,600 square feet and will feature three-floor living, a full walk-out basement, garage, two bedrooms, 2.5 baths, office and open living, dining and kitchen areas.

The company uses all natural products — wood, concrete and steel — and a rigid timber frame with massive wood beams. Sort of like a log home within a log home, the double-wall construction design allows builders to pack walls full of eco-friendly insulation. The frame is most typically used for concrete and commercial projects. It allows for a tighter seal than normal building practices allow, said Karin Provencher, co-owner of Super Bebris. The company also uses tightly sealed, handcrafted windows and doors to keep the cold where it belongs, outside.
“It’s like an urban log home,” Provencher said.

Provencher said the company expects the townhomes’ utility costs to be at least 49 percent less than standard homes built today. She said she thinks the percentage will increase from that figure.

This project, located at 23 Vernon St., about 500 feet from the Riverwalk, is the first of its kind in America and the company is working to buy land in Rye to build its first single-family homes in the U.S. The Manchester project will be one building, with four townhouses, Provencher said.

Officials are expecting The Elliot at River’s Edge, which is in construction and will be an urgent care facility, to help revitalize the section of Manchester near Queen City Avenue. The location of that project was a big reason Super Bebris chose the location it did, Provencher said.
Provencher said the location of the development came about through one of her business associates who was connected to Super Bebris.

Provencher said the countryside in Latvia is similar to the countryside in New Hampshire — minus the hills — and that helped win over Super Bebris.

“We feel the neighborhood is really turning,” Provencher said, adding the Elliot and the proximity to the highway were key factors.

Despite the poor economy, Provencher said there has been a rise in “ecologically motivated buyers,” people who want to live in green homes. She figured the market for these townhouses would be young professional couples.

“It’s a great spot for a young couple to start out,” Provencher said.

Provencher said even though the real estate market has taken a hit, the green building market has grown and she said officials are predicting the green building market will double between now and 2013.

“We feel that our project takes [green building] to a whole new level that Americans haven’t seen,” Provencher said.

“Green building” in the United States too often consists of the same old construction tactics with a high-efficiency heating system popped in at the end, Provencher said.






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