Ameri Built Homes
The Grand Strand is a 60-mile stretch of beaches along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina – and the resort town of Myrtle Beach is its epicenter. Ten million visitors – from college students to snowbirds – come to the Grand Strand every year to play on those giant expanses of sand. And like so many who put down stakes in places of natural beauty – as permanent residents or part-time vacationers – homeowners in this area have plenty of splendor to remind them about the importance of preserving the outdoors they enjoy.
That is why Myrtle Beach-based homebuilder Ameri Built Homes has focused on green building for most of its 10-year history. According to the company, nearly all of its custom home clients opt to incorporate some green features.
“The craftsmanship of our homes is top quality, but we want to make sure they are more than just beautiful on the outside,” says Aaron Ramey, Ameri Built’s sales & marketing manager. “What’s in between the walls is equally important, which increases value.”
That value translates into savings for homeowners down the line. “Price is what you’re going to pay to purchase the house; cost is what you’re going to pay to maintain it over time,” Ramey says. Some of their homes — which are priced up to $750,000 — are quite large — and therefore expensive to heat and cool. But, he says, energy-efficiency techniques — such as using thermal imaging cameras to see inside walls and check the quality of work there and Duct Blasters to make sure ducts are fully sealed — can cut utility bills by as much as half.
Green building isn’t easy and has to be done right, and according to Ramey, clients want assurances that they’re getting what they’re paying for.
Ameri Built Homes is one of the professional builders nationwide that has earned the Certified Green Professional designation from the National Association of Home Builders. The contractor earned this honor because of its knowledge of the best strategies for incorporating green building principles into homes. “When clients see that only a few homebuilders in this area have this designation, we have found it does make a difference in their decision on which builder they choose,” Ramey says.
The company builds ENERGY STAR and LEED-certified homes. As dictated by the Environmental Protection Agency, ENERGY STAR buildings must include features that make them at least 15 percent more efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code. The LEED certification, issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, pertains to broader concerns, such as indoor air quality, material use, water conservation and green landscaping.
Ameri Built has a few other credentials to boast about, too. The company is a Certified Master Builder of South Carolina, a professional designation created by the Home Builders Association of South Carolina to help homeowners identify builders with a proven track record of stability, integrity and service. To get this certification, a builder must be nominated by its peers, meet review criteria and complete numerous hours of education — and continue education to maintain the designation.
The company’s founder and president, Shawn Becker, has been getting recognition practically since day one. He received the South Carolina Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2004 for starting Ameri Built Homes while he was still a college student at Clemson University. And it wasn’t even his first company — he had started a landscaping business, which he later sold, while he was in high school. He had a bit of experienced help in getting off the ground from his father, George, a veteran of the building industry who is currently the company’s director of operations.