|Jay Epstein – President and Founder
Health-E-Community Enterprises of Virginia, Inc.
Homes That Breathe?
Energy Efficient Homes?
Mixed Cost Housing?
Enhanced Indoor Air Quality?
Green Building Techniques?
Are they all related?
Is it possible to build not only a house but an entire community that incorporates these techniques? Would the general public understand, appreciate and buy a home that is both affordable and encompasses these ideas at the same time?
Jay Epstein started answering those questions in 1991. Jay noticed a gap in the local housing market and sought to reduce it. There were homes in the market that were affordable and there were homes that were energy efficient; but none that where both. Jay assembled a team of experts and began his vision to bring Energy Efficient homes to the general public in the affordable home sector. It started with a forty-four-lot subdivision in Newport News, Virginia. To date, an additional fifteen subdivisions with a total of 885 homes have been added to the mix.
Each addition to Jay’s vision has its own story. The stories include: in-fill developments, National Award winning developments and single-family developments in Virginia and Georgia. In short, the home building techniques introduced by Jay are able to be adapted to a variety of special developments. Jay Epstein has now founded Health-E-Community Enterprises of Virginia, Inc to continue this vision.
Jay won two “National Energy Value Housing Awards” from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in 1999 for his use of energy saving techniques in the affordable and production home markets. Indoor air quality for all homes was enhanced tenfold, with heating and cooling energy consumption reduced by 30% as compared to a standard model energy code home. The home provides high levels of comfort for it’s occupants who are typically entry-level homebuyers that are normally neglected by the residential construction industry. By linking energy conservation, resource efficiency and healthy house technology, Jay feels that the “Health E” home demonstrates that it is possible to use the cost savings that accrues from innovative new construction technology and design (not to mention reduced energy usage) to offset the added cost of construction.
The vision to bring energy efficiency to the entry-level homebuyer emerged into collaboration between Jay and The American Lung Association of Virginia, which provided homes with substantial improvements in the indoor air quality as compared to other homes offered to the public.
Jay has worked with the Build Science Corporation to refine his companies building techniques. Jay’s involvement with the Department of Energy Building America program created the First Healthy Energy Efficient Homes in an Affordable Community in Metro Atlanta known as Fairburn Commons designed to heat and cool for less than a dollar a day.
Jay is now completing a 110 unit mixed-income community in James City County. This community is based on the Health-E-Community concepts and has created a self-sufficient second deed of trust that is not funded from government funds and will reduce the cost of 22 of the 110 units by over a million dollars. Since 2008 Michelle Point closed 110 homes and was the top selling community in Hampton, Newport News, James City County and Williamsburg.
Fulton Village, a 52 unit mixed-income community of single family homes in Richmond swept the 2011 Parade of Homes in the under $200,000 category. The model was 12% more efficient than an Energy Star Home.
Because of the prolonged recession there are new challenges in the housing environment. The potential workforce buyers have been affected by job security, financial debt that they are only now starting to recover from, and the reduction in value of homes throughout the country that has caused short sales and foreclosures. Time is needed to cure their financial challenges and reinforce their faith in the economy. It has also necessitated the creation of innovative financing.
One such program envisions communities using “YOUR NEXT STEP TO HOMEOWNERSHIP”
This concept qualifies the renter for home purchase not today but over a three year time period that will allow for part of the rent (up to 3%) to be used for down payment/closing costs assistance. This three year window allows for credit repair and meets the needs of today’s potential buyer that has been affected by the recession. To date we have completed Michelle Point. Of the 110 homes; we have placed 11 in this program.
In 2014 two new communities will be opening. Chestnut Grove will be a 40 unit single family townhouse community in Williamsburg Virginia with prices starting in the $160’s.
Also in 2014 a new community in Richmond will open called The Villas at Rocketts Landing. This community of 45 single family homes will be the first solar community in Virginia. The solar homes will be priced from the $220,000’s. This community will be built using advanced building techniques that will save in energy consumption while the Photovoltaic (PV) solar system will generate bankable electricity to offset the total utility bill. This will allow the units to have a total utility bill of $1.00 to $1.50 a day (averaged over the year) depending upon model purchased. This utility bill includes your heating, cooling, hot water, appliances, and lights.
Awards and Recognitions
|1997||National Energy Value Award – Affordable homes in the Moderate
|1998||Peninsula Housing And Builders Association’s Outstanding
Contribution to Affordable Housing
|1999||National Energy Value Award – Production homes and Affordable Homes in the moderate Climate Region|
|1999||Corporate Partner Award – American Lung Association of Virginia|
|1999||Governor’s Achievement Award|
|2000||Recognition by the Secretary of Energy for the Build America Homes at Fairburn Commons – Build America Partner|