College builds energy-efficient green home on campus.

A year-long construction project designed to teach how to build homes in an earth-friendly way reached completion last Thursday on Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s Gordon County Campus in Calhoun, Ga. Leaders from across the region, participating vendors, and college administration were on hand for the ribbon-cutting of the new EarthCraft home built at the college.

GNTC Construction Management Director Donny Holmes led the project from day one. “It’s part of why I love to teach technical education,” said the 2014 finalist for the Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year award in the state of Georgia. “I love to communicate my knowledge and experiences of construction to those wanting to learn so that they, in turn, can experience pride and accomplishment by building Georgia.”

Actually, two model houses were built by a crew which included GNTC students as part of the Residential Energy Efficiency Technology program. One is built under the standard specifications with common air leaks and traditional construction, old appliances, water heater, and an 80-percent efficient gas furnace. The other house is built under new green and energy efficient specifications using new materials and techniques with EarthCraft House ratings.

The website states, “The EarthCraft Program was created in 1999 as a partnership between the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and the Southface Energy Institute to teach builders the latest methods of resource and energy-efficient construction.”

The houses will be used as part of the Residential Energy Efficiency Technology program. Students will be using both houses as research for emissions and energy savings.  The students in the program will be trained in Blower Door and Duct Blaster testing as well as BPI testing requirements. They also will be doing carbon monoxide monitoring on appliances and HVAC equipment. The project is intended to teach students the science of building and how houses work and breathe.

For more information, contact Donny Holmes, director of GNTC’s Construction Management program and Residential Energy Efficiency Technology program, at 706 378-1733 or via email at