Indiana ‘Gem’ of a Home Earns National Award

Our BizVoice magazine is featuring a Workforce Wise series in 2011 (read the first installment here), focusing on older workers and their important contributions to companies and communities. It’s a crucial issue — one that is receiving little attention.

While we look at workplace efforts, an Indiana company has earned a national honor for its home design work geared toward the older population. Here’s a summary:

A Burns Harbor home built by Treasure Homes Inc., Wheatfield, has been honored with a 2010 Livable Communities Award from AARP and the National Association of Homebuilders.

The award honors builders, developers, remodelers and architects whose work incorporates design features that work for people of all ages and physical abilities – a key consideration as baby boomers turn 65.

Treasure Homes’ winning design, dubbed “The Gem,” features a no-step entry, a stylish and functional kitchen, 36-inch wide doorways and modern bathrooms with such features as a low-curb shower, lever-controlled faucets and raised electrical outlets.

Such features go by the name of “universal design,” since they facilitate easy use by people of all ages and physical abilities.

In addition to its universal design features, the Prairie-style bungalow has been certified under the National Green Building Standard to the Emerald level, with an Energy Star rating of 5+ and a HERS score of 46.

Since 2007, AARP and the National Association of Homebuilders have honored builders, developers, remodelers and architects who incorporate universal design in their projects.

“These builders, remodelers, developers and architects are being recognized as leaders in the effort to meet the needs of the nation’s age 50-plus consumers and their families,” said NAHB Chief Executive Officer Jerry Howard. “This fast-growing market is very important to our industry, and these award-winning projects provide great examples of design innovations that promote safe and comfortable living.”

View photos and videos of “The Gem” and other 2010 Livable Communities Award-winners.