College News

CCCC Chatham Cottage auction set for Aug. 2

Click to enlarge CCCC Chatham Cottage auction set for Aug. 2

click to enlarge ⊗

The cozy, energy-efficient Chatham Cottage, crafted by Central Carolina Community College Sustainability ... (more)

07.21.2014Admin, Faculty & StaffCollege & CommunityStudents/GraduatesSpecial Events

PITTSBORO - Green is the operative word for the cozy Chatham Cottage, a handmade home crafted by Central Carolina Community College students enrolled in the college's Sustainability Technologies program.

The cottage, the second project of its kind, will be auctioned off at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at the college's Chatham County Campus, 764 West St., Pittsboro.

The one bedroom, one bathroom 529-square-foot cottage contains 479 square feet of functional and attractive living space. The house features a vaulted ceiling over the living room, energy efficient vinyl windows for additional heating and cooling efficiency, reclaimed oak flooring and a high efficiency BROAN bathroom fan and ventilator for increased indoor air quality.

The house can be viewed 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Persons wanting to bid need to register at the Aug. 2 auction in order to receive a numbered bidder card. Provisions can also be made for live bidding via telephone.

For more information concerning the open house and bidding procedures, contact Andrew McMahan, Sustainability Technologies department chair/Biofuels and PV instructor, at 919-545-8036 or

A great transition home for people wanting to move towards simplicity and sustainability, the Chatham Cottage can comfortably fit a single person or couple. It is great for a guesthouse or mother-in-law suite and suitable as an office space or vacation rental home.

This small, tight, energy-efficient home is designed to allow the owner to enjoy the natural surroundings while keeping energy costs low and focusing on sustainability practices that are good for the environment.

It is important to consider the cost and efficiency of long-term energy consumption when purchasing a home. If a house isn't sealed correctly or doesn't have proper insulation, the owner must pay for it. Although many feel energy efficient homes are too expensive, the theory behind the Chatham Cottage project is that energy inefficiency is too costly to live without. The goal of the project is to build a home using simple, cost efficient, scientific building techniques that provide consumers realistic ways to save money and energy.

"We are so excited about this project," said Laura Lauffer, CCCC sustainability coordinator and lead instructor for the Sustainability Technologies program. "Buildings use 40 percent of the energy in our country, so it is most important that we start with efficiency first to conserve resources and reduce carbon pollution."

She added that, not only do the students working on the Chatham Cottage project get a design perspective and the hands-on experience using power tools and learning safety skills, building code, and green certification requirements, but they also receive an invaluable education concerning the importance of sustainable construction. The students also focus on indoor air quality in the construction of the cottage.

"Very tight houses cannot have toxic fumes affecting the occupants," Lauffer said. "We allow no VOC paints and finishes and require that cabinets be formaldehyde free."

The house will require the addition of a heating and cooling system, appliances, electric water heater, footing, and foundation upon placement at the permanent site. It is now on temporary pillars and must be removed from the premises after the sale is complete. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Sustainability Technologies program's Chatham Cottage Project.

For additional energy efficiency, the cottage is constructed of one-inch thick continuous R-5 foam board with sturdy North Carolina cypress siding. The walls and ceilings are insulated with non-toxic, formaldehyde free fiberglass batts with R-38 insulation in the ceilings and R-15 in the walls. The roof is framed with long-lasting spruce 2x6 rafters tied to a raised 2x8 ceiling assembly. Custom built, formaldehyde-free cabinets highlight the functional kitchen area and a durable metal 5V (Energy Star) tin roof covers the structure. A 5'6"x6' roof extension provides a covered front porch.

For more information about the Chatham Cottage, visit For more information about the Sustainability Technologies program, contact Laura Lauffer at 919-545-8032 or by e-mail at