At Build NATiVE, we take a holistic approach to green home building—considering all the factors that go into design and construction of a high performance, energy efficient custom home:

energy efficiency upgrade

Build NATiVE homes combine the best of modern luxury and eco-conscious lifestyle features. Our custom homes are packed full of money-saving features, most of which include solar power and PV panels, high-efficiency heating and cooling, potable rainwater harvesting, standing seam metal roofs, advanced framing with full envelope spray foam insulation, energy efficient windows and doors, and much, much more.

Lenape Cove

Building Envelope

A building envelope is the physical separator between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building including the resistance to air, water, heat, light, and noise transfer. The building envelope is all of the elements of the outer shell that maintain a dry, heated, or cooled indoor environment and facilitate its climate control. Building envelope design is a specialized area of architectural and engineering practice that draws from all areas of building science and indoor climate control. The control function is at the core of good performance, and in practice focuses, in order of importance, on rain control, air control, heat control, and vapor control.

The many functions of the building envelope can be separated into three categories:

  • Support (to resist and transfer structural loads)
  • Control (the flow of matter and energy of all types)
  • Finish (to meet human desires on the inside and outside)

Components of the green home building envelope are typically:

  • Walls (advanced framing and spray foam insulation)
  • Floors
  • Roofs (standing seam metal roofs)
  • Doors
  • Fenestrations (any opening: windows, skylights, clerestories, etc)

Spray Foam Insulation

As a green custom home builder, we use spray foam on most of our custom homes as the best method of achieving a high performance thermal building envelope.

Residential spray foam is the most cost effective insulating material that seals your home from air and moisture intrusion, saves on utility bills, and protects your family’s health from airborne pollutants, and allergens. Learn more about the pros and cons here.

Benefits of residential spray foam insulation as a key green home building element:

  • Saves on energy costs
  • Makes your home more comfortable
  • Stops air and moisture infiltration
  • Keeps dust and pollen out
  • Reduces HVAC sizing requirements, maintenance, and wear of the equipment
  • Reduces pests that can live in the wall cavities of your home
building envelope

Energy Efficient Windows

Energy efficient windows provide superior performance and are available in an endless array of style and size options.

Whether you are looking to improve your existing home’s energy efficiency or wanting to build a new Build NATiVE home, high quality windows are critical element for a net-zero home. As an eco-friendly custom home builder, we utilize a product line of affordable, low-maintenance, energy efficient windows and doors in our Texas-built zero-energy homes and deep energy retrofits to existing homes. Available in rich exterior colors that won’t fade, flake, blister or peel, the windows we use are built to look and perform as beautifully in ten years as the day they were installed.

Build NATiVE customers have a lot to like about the energy efficient windows we use at a very economical price. The windows we use meet ENERGY STAR® qualifications in all climate zones. The materials they’re made from block thermal transfer nearly 700 times better than aluminum, and full-perimeter weatherstripping helps provide superior insulation. The field-proven composite material that make up the energy-efficient windows allows us to offer high-quality and low-maintenance products at a lower cost.

With their durable, environmentally friendly material construction, the windows Build NATiVE uses offer the strength of solid wood and twice the stability and rigidity of vinyl. The composition, which has more than 30 U.S. patents, ensures your windows will last for decades.

At a time when more people care about the environmental impact of their green home building choices, Build NATiVE homeowners can feel good about the products Build NATiVE uses to build their homes. The frame and sash of the windows we use contain 40% pre-consumer reclaimed wood fiber by weight, and the glass contains 12% reclaimed glass by weight.

The windows we use meet ENERGY STAR® qualifications in all climate zones. The materials they’re made from block thermal transfer nearly 700 times better than aluminum, and full-perimeter weatherstripping helps provide superior insulation. Build NATiVE windows meet or exceed Performance Grade 30 air, water and structural requirements, helping to keep the wind and weather outside. Traditional and commonly used vinyl windows in dark colors can become soft when exposed to the sun’s intense heat. Build NATiVE windows retain their rigidity and strength in temperatures exceeding 160 F.

All Build NATiVE windows feature intelligently engineered components and hardware known for their smooth, effortless and virtually maintenance-free operation.

Whether style, durability, value, or sustainability drives your buying decision, you’ll have it covered with the energy-efficient windows in a Build NATiVE home. They are easy on the eyes, easy to own, easier on the environment and — best of all — easy on the pocketbook.

Energy efficient windows offer the following options and benefits:

  • Low cost
  • Low maintenance
  • Multiple exterior color options
  • Beautiful matte finish options, inside and out
  • Energy-efficient performance
  • Resistant to air and water infiltration
  • Designed to withstand Texas heat
  • Smooth and reliable operation
  • Strong and durable
  • Owner-to-owner limited warranty
  • Easy tax credit qualification
  • Environmentally responsible

High Efficiency HVAC Systems

The large majority of our net zero homes have geothermal heat pump systems for their heating and cooling needs. However, due to the reduced price of solar, we have found that it is now more cost effective to install a high efficiency air source heat pump with a little more solar to achieve the same end result: no electric bill. That being said, there are still applications in which geothermal power is an excellent option for our green home building customers and we continue to offer it as an option for our homes.

High Efficiency Air Source Heat Pumps

For climates like Texas with moderate heating needs, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners.

Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house and during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances.

The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. If you heat with electricity, a heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30% to 40%. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

When you consider the surface of the earth, especially in Texas, it can be quite hot in the summer months and very cold in the winter. While the temperature of the earth changes with the seasons, the temperature of the ground below the surface, does not. Even at just six feet below the surface of the ground, the temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit year round.

What geothermal power does is take advantage of this consistent ground temperature and uses it for a more efficient heat exchange. This heat exchange is accomplished with a series of vertically drilled wells that include special piping filled with water. The water is pumped around the geothermal compressor in the home and out to the wells, which is conduit for the house/ground heat exchange. Simply put, the closer the indoor temperature is to the media of heat exchange, be it ground or air, the better the efficiency.

Lost Creek
FM 1704
rainwater collection

Rainwater Collection & Harvesting

Water conservation and development of water supplies is crucial for meeting the growing demand for clean water. Rainwater collection (harvesting) is an innovative alternative water supply approach that captures, diverts, and stores rainwater for later use. This stored rainwater can be used as the primary potable water supply for a home after it passes through a filtration and purification process. Drinking water supplied from a rainwater harvesting system is typically a higher quality water than water supplied by municipality or water well due to the absence of fluoride, chemicals and a variety of hard minerals. We typically install residential rainwater harvesting systems that supply 100% of the home’s water demand.

In many areas, 30 to 50 percent of the total water is used for landscape irrigation. Capturing rainwater for use in landscape not only makes efficient use of such a valuable resource, but can greatly reduce water bills and reduce demand on local water supply.

A rainwater collection system consists of the supply (rainfall), the demand (water needed by humans, animals and plants), and a system for collecting water and moving it to the desired areas (pumps and piping).

Build NATiVE offers rainwater harvesting opportunities as a key element of green home building in Austin, San Antonio, and across Central Texas and the Texas Hill Country. Rainwater collection systems are a wise investment, good for you and your wallet. Coupled with a solar PV system, rainwater collection allows you to be free from renting your energy and water!

Solar Power & Batteries

Modern solar power technology has been around for about 70 years. However, it wasn’t until the last decade or so that the cost of producing energy with solar panels has reached parity with that of non-renewable energy sources. Wide scale manufacturing and competition has helped drive innovation and reduce the cost of solar power production.

A similar trend has been seen with the electric vehicle market, helping to drive the development of battery technology. Batteries today have significantly higher capacity and output than those produced just a year ago. Even with this increased size, the cost of owning batteries is coming down.

It’s now feasible to not only have your entire house powered by solar panels, but to also have a battery power backup system in place for when the power grid is interrupted.

Power Your Home with Solar Panels

Where We Build

Austin Area

  • Austin
  • Bee Cave
  • Cedar Park
  • Georgetown
  • Lake Travis
  • Lakeway
  • Pflugerville
  • Round Rock
  • West Lake Hills

Central Texas

  • Bastrop
  • Buda
  • Burnet
  • Elgin
  • Kyle
  • Lago Vista
  • Leander
  • San Marcos
  • Spicewood

Hill Country

  • Blanco
  • Driftwood
  • Dripping Springs
  • Fredericksburg
  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Kerrville
  • Lake LBJ
  • Marble Falls
  • Wimberley

San Antonio

  • San Antonio
  • Boerne
  • Bulverde
  • Canyon Lake
  • Fair Oaks Ranch
  • Helotes
  • Leon Springs
  • New Braunfels
  • Spring Branch
Our Vineyard Ridge home was Fine Homebuilding Magazine’s 2015 winner of the Best Energy-Smart Home.
A sustainable home features site specific design; solar power; durable construction and materials; rainwater collection and harvesting; high efficiency heating and cooling; chemical free finishes; Energy Star appliances; an advanced thermal envelope, and fresh air filtration. A sustainable home is a Build NATiVE home.