Smart technology and energy performance options available to consumers and considered the future of home building

Lonnie Norris, Granite Ridge Builders

Granite Ridge has made it a primary goal to be a leader in the housing community, one of mankind’s greatest needs. This initial commitment developed into a company-wide philosophy that rewards discovery of new technologies, processes, and innovations in home construction and efficiency. The result: more than 3,000 custom homes in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio that are some of the most energy-efficient, state-of-the-art, affordable homes in the Midwest. 

Over the last three years, the NextSTEP™ Innovation Home Gallery has evolved dramatically. With changing buyer needs and demands, including the need to reduce utility costs and environmental footprint, Granite Ridge has constructed a one-of- a-kind home that serves as a showpiece of home innovations, technologies, amenities, and energy-efficient options now available to the consumer. 

Granite Ridge’s primary goal with the NextSTEP™ Innovation Home Gallery is to take home building to the next level. NextSTEP™ stands for Smart Technology and Energy Performance. On the energy side of things, the home will sport a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating of less than zero referred to as net zero. This means under normal circumstances a family of four will be able to live and enjoy this home and its many comforts without an energy bill. 


 To get the 5,000+ square-foot home to net-zero level was a considerable feat. Granite Ridge consulted energy engineers, selected high-efficiency equipment and materials, and monitored the construction processes closely to ensure optimum performance.  

The Innovation Gallery accomplishes incredible efficiency on multiple levels, beginning with solar power. Granite Ridge installed 24-inch overhangs and the oriented the home to obtain maximum solar energy.

A solar photovoltaic (PV) system rated at 11.6 Kilowatts produces the main source of energy. Panels placed on an auxiliary barn and a pergola collect and convert heat into energy and electric power to serve the home’s power needs. 

A solar passive domestic hot water heating system provides hot water for the home and heats the garage floor. A geothermal, open-loop HVAC plant is the primary heating-cooling system for the home, providing a back-up heat source for the hot water heating system. The HVAC plant also includes an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) to assure fresh, balanced, healthy air in the home at all times. 

Conserving energy is equally important to saving on heating bills, and Granite Ridge worked hard to deliver multiple options for families to replicate in their own homes. 

The Innovation Gallery houses triple-glazed, high-efficient windows (including safe krypton gas).  Special foam insulations and sealants weave throughout the home and basement interior, resulting in an R-65 rating in the ceilings and an R-34 in the walls. An interior drywall seal reduces all outside air infiltration. Exclusive LED lighting also supports the home’s incredible efficiency rating.

Studies have shown that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air. People spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. 

CertainTeed AirRenew® gypsum board was used throughout the home because of two innovative technologies to actively improve indoor air quality. First, it cleans the air by permanently removing VOCs (volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and other aldehydes) circulating indoors and keeps them out. Second, it provides moisture and mold resistance throughout your home. 

 On the exterior, an Energy Star-rated roof works to absorb the sun’s rays in the winter and reflects it in the summer months to maximize efficiency. 

The NextSTEP™ Innovation Home Gallery includes many universal design features and will be both Green certified by the National Green Building Standard™ and LEED registered by the U.S. Green Building Council. 

This is a truly a home for the ages!

High performing insulation and sealants creates a highly energy efficient home
Innovative drywall technologies
improve indoor air quality