GREEN in the City; An Interview with St. Louis’ Sage Homebuilders

Dawn Griffin Posted by
Local Developments Apr 2007

Sage Homebuilders is building GREEN homes in the city. Check out this one on Childress or this one on Gustine.

Below is a quick interview with Jason Stone, one of the company’s partners.

What inspired you to go GREEN in STL?

I wish I could take credit, but the idea to go green was Rick Hunter’s. You would think that one of the leading green builders in St. Louis would have been the inspiration of some hyper-environmentally conscious group, but that just wasn’t the case. Rick and Mike Greene (along with Realtor Sebastian Bautz) saw that there was a shortage of high quality new construction in St. Louis City. Green building simply proved to be an extension of better quality building. The more we learned about going green, the more it made sense to us. We didn’t fully grasp the importance of the environmental component until we had immersed ourselves in the building science and techniques. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even recycle until late last year, but now that I know what I know I feel guilty throwing away anything at all. Go listen to someone like Ed Mazria talk and it will really open your eyes.

Next month’s newsletter (get the newsletter by emailing to info@sagestl.com) will likely be about the environmental component of what we do. Oddly enough, it’s usually one of the last reasons mainstream buyers end up choosing to go green, but it’s the most important and the most rewarding.

What is your past development experience?

All of the partners in the company have historic renovation backgrounds. It’s how we all met and know one another. We cut our teeth on restoring old homes in the City. We grew our individual development businesses on the state historic tax credit programs, so the transition to the 3rd party certification process of green was like old hat to us.

How many current projects and where?

As of today, we have seven homes under development. Everything we’re doing has to be a certified green project, either through the HBA GBI or USGBC’s LEED. Projects include the two in Dogtown (one of which just made the news for being the first home in the City ever certified green under the HBA GBI guidelines, the other is under contract and going under roof next week), four in Tower Grove South (The Gustine Townhomes are quickly becoming known as the “Boulder Houses” among the neighbors for all the landscaping walls – all salvaged limestone and granite taken from the excavation of the site the homes now sit on – how’s that for a recycling effort?), and the show stopper, the Owens Corning sponsored NZEH (near zero energy home) in Creve Coeur. Rick and Mike did interviews for NBC Nightly News on the house when it was featured on the National Association of Homebuilders Green Building Conference Builder’s Tour. To get attention like that you know it has to be truly special home. It features all kinds of great green concepts and products including solar, geothermal, insulated concrete forms, and more. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a great looking house to boot – right out of a story book (thank you designer Jeff Day!).

The “Boulder Houses” on Gustine in Tower Grove South

boulderhouse.jpg

What’s in store for next year?

I think people are excited about the idea that our houses don’t necessarily look green, but perform green (energy efficient, better for your health, lower maintenance, etc.). These days we’re getting a ton of inquires on our custom builds, so next year will probably have us focused on some exciting custom projects. We’re also looking at a number of smaller commercial projects. The St. Louis green commercial market is one of the best in the country (technically, it’s been listed as #7), so the hope is that we have something tangible underway within the next twelve months. If any of your readers are looking for green commercial space to lease, they should give us a call asap.

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