Clayton partners to create new green e-living concept

Breaking ground for the new Raintree Apartments green multi-family dwellings are, from left, Steve Hall, CEO of Empire Construction; and Jim Clayton, founder of Clayton Homes and Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Breaking ground for the new Raintree Apartments green multi-family dwellings are, from left, Steve Hall, CEO of Empire Construction; and Jim Clayton, founder of Clayton Homes and Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes.

Participating in ground breaking at the Raintree Apartments are, from left, Mike Edwards, CEO of the Knoxville Chamber, Joe Hultquist, Knoxville City Council, Ed Shouse, Knox County Commission, Steve Hall, CEO of Empire Construction and Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes.

Participating in ground breaking at the Raintree Apartments are, from left, Mike Edwards, CEO of the Knoxville Chamber, Joe Hultquist, Knoxville City Council, Ed Shouse, Knox County Commission, Steve Hall, CEO of Empire Construction and Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton Homes.

Clayton Homes and Empire Construction are partnering to create green, multi-family homes in Knoxville as a test market for a new e-living concept.

Clayton Homes and Empire Construction kicked off the initiative during a press conference Tuesday, July 28, at the first green multi-family dwelling at Raintree Apartments in West Knoxville.

The e-living concept will be applied to a modular building with six units in the first phase. Five of the units will be occupied by families, with one unit remaining vacant to be used as a model home.

“Not only will the units be built utilizing the green benefits of modular construction and have energy-efficient features inside of them, but there will also be a recycling program on property, which completes the e-living concept,” said Kevin Clayton, president and CEO of Clayton Homes.

Clayton estimated the project to be completed by December.

According to Clayton Homes, when searching for an apartment or condominium, options for green living are slim. High efficiency air conditioning systems and Low E windows are most commonly found in single-family homes.

Apartment complexes and condominiums usually are built from long-established construction methods, not in climate-controlled building facilities which drastically reduce construction waste.

Recognizing this void in the marketplace, Clayton Homes and Empire Construction partnered to create a new e-living concept for multi-family dwellings.

“We are excited to further expand our multi-family modular capabilities - specifically from an energy efficiency standpoint. Leveraging Empire Construction’s operational experience with these types of communities will be invaluable,” said Clayton. “We think the awareness and importance of energy conservation is at an all-time high, so it’s a natural extension of what we already do.”

Clayton said the response to the Clayton Homes’ i-house initiative was overwhelmingly positive. “We have confirmed that there is a demand for energy-efficient green-living housing, including an apartment or condo,” he said.

For nearly 30 years, Knoxville-based Empire Construction has been in the construction industry, with the past 12 years focused on renovation and new construction of apartment communities and condominiums throughout the United States. “Renovation allows for the addition of energy-efficient windows and doors, as well as upgrades to the heating and cooling systems, but there’s so much more that can be done when building a new unit,” said Steve Hall, CEO of Empire Construction.

Hall said e-living communities will be built from renewable materials.

Empire’s partnership with Clayton Homes could reshape a large portion of the multi-family housing industry. “Our skilled craftsmen build the units indoors, each focused on their specialized area of expertise. And without exposure to Mother Nature’s elements, we can ensure the highest quality,” said Clayton.

Using the precision building method in this environment, the modular unit produces less than 2 percent scrap, which is 50 percent less waste than site-built construction, he said.

Clayton has been touting the benefits of modular construction for years. “E-living isn’t just a ‘feel-good’ concept. The energy-efficient and green benefits are real, but this makes good business sense as well, particularly when you look at the savings associated with the time reduction in construction schedules,” he said.

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