'Green Homes' showcase efficiency in Oxford

OXFORD – People who take Oxford’s Green Homes Tour this weekend will see building efficiencies both human-scaled and high-tech.
The free, two-hour tour will depart by van from the Oxford Conference Center at 1, 1:30 and 2 p.m. Saturday. It includes four homes and a new University of Mississippi building.
“We’re trying to raise awareness, to show people of Oxford and the surrounding areas that there’s technology that can save natural resources … and money,” said Katrina Hourin, Oxford’s assistant city planner and a member of the tour committee.
The Bishop home features a water-permeable driveway, few south windows to minimize summertime heat gain and durable bamboo flooring.
“Pretty much every material we use inside is recyclable,” said Beau Gibb, the home’s builder.
The large Lomax home generates much of its own electricity from a solar converter. The home also has a natural gas generator that will supply the whole house in case of storm or other outage.
The Wedge home boasts an addition that expanded the 2,000-square-foot house by half, yet seasonal solar gain, ultra-efficient climate control and superinsulation mean only minimal extra utility cost.
“December and January were colder this winter than last year’s, and the utility bill dropped by $20 in December and another $30 in January,” said builder Bill Lilly.
Gibb’s home incorporates passive lighting, natural breezes and a footprint of less than 1,000 square feet to minimize energy use, including several months when it needs neither heating nor cooling.
“This is ideal … for one or two people,” Gibb said.
A candidate for certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, the Robert Khayat Law Center features liberal use of daylight, low-flow plumbing fixtures and occupancy sensors that adjust light and temperature in unused rooms. High-tech windows can allow or minimize solar heat gain, depending on the season.
“The cost of the glass is more than saved because it means you don’t need as big a (heating and cooling) system,” Banner said. One other advantage is the expansive views that contrast with the school’s previous building.
“From the majority of the public spaces you can see outside – often in three different directions,” he said.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@journalinc.com.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal