Copper Products Take Center Stage in Showcase Homes

February 8, 2002


NEW YORK— Copper building products and materials-from plumbing tube to high-tech wiring networks and even an elegant "barrel-vault" roof capped with copper panels-are being featured in no fewer than eight prominent demonstration homes currently underway in different parts of the United States.

Five of the houses are being built on the grounds of the Georgia World Congress Center, the site of the 2002 International Builders' Show in Atlanta. Two additional showcase homes are also underway in nearby suburbs in conjunction with the Builders' Show. Television viewers and Internet users can watch the day-to-day progress of yet another house, located near Dallas, as its construction proceeds on-air and online.

homelink Click here for a high-resolution version of this photo.

The construction of the homes at the Builders' Show-in a parking lot adjacent to the convention center-are part of this year's "Habitat@25" celebration, which marks a quarter-century of low-income home sponsorship by Habitat for Humanity International.

Executives and employees of participating sponsors, including the president and personnel from the Copper Development Association Inc. (CDA), volunteered to swing hammers, install plumbing and wiring, and raise the walls of the five houses while the Show is under way. The CDA also supplied all of the plumbing tube installed in each of the houses. The principal sponsor of the project is Professional Builder magazine.

holligan Click here for a high-resolution version of this photo.

"We're here because we, as a building industry association, strongly agree with the Habitat ideal that everyone-regardless of their income, status, education or whatever-deserves to live in a comfortable home of their own," explained CDA president Andrew Kireta, Sr. Dressed in jeans and work boots, Kireta and other CDA executives worked shoulder-to-shoulder with community volunteers in the week leading up to the Show's opening on Feb. 8. When completed, all of the houses will be partially disassembled, moved off their temporary foundations in the parking lot and made available to qualifying families through habitat.

In the nearby Atlanta suburbs, another showcase home-commissioned by This Old House magazine and designed by Jeremiah Eck Architects of Boston-features a screened porch capped with a gently curving "barrel-vault" copper roof. This dramatic architectural design statement is certain to be one of the highlights of a three-day Open House tour of the home during the show. Builders who visit this home can see copper in prominent use throughout the project, including the rain gutters, roof flashing, and custom copper eaves and chimney cap. The 4,200-square-foot home's all-copper plumbing system is designed to serve five full baths complete with whirlpool tubs and high-flow, multiple-head "power showers."

This Old House Click here for a high-resolution version of this photo.

The second suburban showcase, dubbed the HomeLink house by its sponsor, Builder magazine, was planned as a display of high-tech "connectivity" that only a few progressive builders are offering in homes today-but others will be building into the homes of tomorrow. Featuring a Category 5e structured wiring system and Internet portals networked throughout the house, HomeLink is built in an innovative technology-based suburb recently named "Wired Community of the Year."

HomeLink's builders also used value-engineering software to select the home's basic infrastructure materials and products, like the copper plumbing, that provide optimum benefits at the best value to the home owners. The house was designed by the award-winning, Memphis architectural firm of Looney Ricks Kiss.

All of the copper tube for both Atlanta showcase homes, as well as the copper sheet for the barrel roof and other copper construction materials, were provided by the Copper Development Association.

Millions of TV viewers followed the installation of copper plumbing in a 16,000-square-foot Preston Hollow, Texas, home on "Michael Holigan's Your New House." Each step in the construction process was shown in separate episodes of the nationally syndicated program.  In addition to supplying all of the plumbing tube for the house, CDA representatives were on-hand to provide technical assistance to the installation contractor during filming.

According to Tim Dickey, the show's producer, the 6-bedroom, 10-bath home included "massive" amounts of electrical and telecommunications wiring, plus "a huge amount of copper" in the water-cooled heating, air conditioning and ventilation system. The home will also have copper gutters when completed.

Editors Note: For photography in digital, transparency or print format relating to any of the above demonstration project houses, contact CDA or Sumner Rider & Associates