This morning in northeast Shelby County, under an infinity of blue sky -- the hue of which should be called Arlington blue -- there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the upcoming Fall VESTA Home Show. The Memphis Area Home Builders Association (MAHBA) again presents the VESTA show, a showcase of the latest and greatest in residential housing by some of the top builders in the Mid-South, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary.
This year's show is adding one key adjective to its name: green. The 2009 Fall Green VESTA Home Show will feature the advancements being made in sustainable, efficient, and -- crucially -- affordable homebuilding. This show will be the first in the nation that exclusively features homes that will conform to National Green Building Standards, certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
This marks a "new and different direction for homebuilders in the area," Steve Hodgkins, MAHBA president, said today in remarks at the ceremony. He commented on how the homebuilders have "been blamed for a lot of problems the country has." Defiantly, he added, "Our industry will come back without a bailout," to which the crowd of building and related-field leaders responded with enthusiastic applause.
The show, at The Villages at White Oak in Arlington, will fully embrace ecological-sound, progressive amenities by utilizing recycled and other green materials, being energy efficient, and by being a cornerstone of a new, New Urbanist community. Within walking distance are planned mixed-use, office, and retail developments.
This will be the first VESTA Home Show in Arlington. Town mayor Russell Wiseman cited recent census figures and estimates that show the Arlington population jumping from 2,069 in 2000 to nearing 11,000. "People move to where they like what they see," Wiseman said today. "Let’s go sell some houses."
In addition to being built in accordance to ANSI/NAHB standards, the houses this year will meet those set out by Memphis Light, Gas & Water's EcoBUILD program. EcoBUILD homes use 30 percent less energy than standard-built homes. That translates to lower utility bills and homes that accumulate in value more quickly.
Builders in this year’s VESTA Home Show are: Chamberlain & McCreery, FaxonGillis, Ruch Homes, Regency Home Builders, Signature Homes, and Sterling Homes. Jerry Gillis of FaxonGillis said that much of what's green about these homes won't be readily apparent to visitors to the show. So signage and other educational tools are being developed to school VESTA viewers on what it is that makes these homes unique. (Apart from price tags that will range from $250,000-$350,000 and monthly utility bills scads cheaper than what they’re likely used to seeing.)
The 2009 Fall VESTA Home Show will run October 10-November 1 at The Villages at White Oak in Arlington, Tennessee. Call event director Joe Callaway at 756-4500 for more information.