Readers Resource: The Valle Group
Falmouth-based custom home builder, The Valle Group has earned a reputation for quality and integrity on Cape Cod. Having won numerous awards for excellence in construction and most recently being named “Builder of the Year” by the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC), the second-generation family-owned company is well-known for its distinctive residential work. What many may not be aware of is the passion they have for environmentally sustainable building and their expertise in Passive House, Net Zero Energy and other “High Performance Construction” methodologies.
Green building has been a focus for The Valle family since the company was founded 25 years ago, according to Christian Valle, President of The Valle Group. “Our firm is somewhat of a pioneer in high performance construction. In fact, The Valle Group built the first certified Passive House on Cape Cod more than a decade ago, one of only 24 such houses in the entire country at the time.” The Valle Group has gone on to build many High-Performance Houses since then, with another two underway right now.
Valle explains that Passive building has become shorthand for a specific approach to energy efficient, sustainable construction that fits within the larger category of ‘High-Performance Construction.’ Passive building began in the US during the energy crisis of the 1970’s and was later refined by German home builders as part of the Passive House movement. “What began as an effort to reduce energy waste has evolved into a pursuit of the highest possible standards of green design and construction to build homes that are super energy-efficient, of the highest constructed quality, healthy, and in harmony with the environment.”
The five principles of Passive design and construction include increased insulation, air tightness, elimination of points of energy loss, large banks of south facing, triple pane glass (to optimize passive solar benefits) and heat recovery ventilation. But on many of the Valle Group’s projects, these are often complemented by other sustainability-focused approaches to energy conservation and responsible use of materials that require special certifications. These include Net Zero Energy, LEED and Forest Stewardship Council certification. Valle Group clients can enjoy the benefits of these environmentally friendly building practices whether they ultimately go for official certification of their new home or not.
For homeowners looking to reduce the carbon footprint of their existing homes, The Valle Group offers a type of renovation called “Deep Energy Retrofit.” This involves making modest changes to the envelope of the home, adding generous insulation and replacing windows in order to reduce energy consumption. Valle says this can be a great way to implement green building practices as a standalone project or as part of a larger addition/renovation.
Green expertise runs deep at the 30-person firm. Project Manager Chris Girard is a Passive House Institute (PHIUS) Certified Passive House builder and Director of Design Joan Valle has been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2009.
Aside from their expertise and passion for sustainable building, one of the things that sets the company apart is its ongoing investment in the community. The Valle Family generously supports several Cape-based environmental and cultural organizations and is a strong advocate for affordable housing and need-based services for families who live and work on Cape Cod.