PORTLAND, Ore. (PRWEB) January 10, 2013
Six super-energy efficient homes throughout the Northwest are being highlighted by Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes and local utilities for incorporating the latest technologies and best building practices that increase comfort and reduce energy costs. With ENERGY STAR as a foundation, each home is a real-life demonstration of some of the most efficient homes available to today’s buyers and at any size, style or budget.
“By featuring local builders who are voluntarily building 30 to 40 percent more energy efficient than state code requires, Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes and local utilities aim to educate buyers on the benefits of whole-home energy efficiency and influence builders to look at ways to improve their own construction practices to stay ahead of the curve,” said Neil Grigsby, Initiative Manager, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA). “Each unique home demonstrates to homeowners that greatly improved energy efficiency, lower monthly bills and enhanced comfort are within reach if you know what to look for.”
Building to ENERGY STAR certified standards and ensuring the home has been third-party tested is a great first step towards efficiency and comfort. However, a variety of additional technologies and best practices for building new homes are available that buyers are not always aware of. Many of these upgrades can significantly increase comfort, provide cleaner indoor air quality and lower monthly bills by greatly reducing energy costs for heating and cooling.
For example, the Pumpkin Ridge Passive House, built by Hammer & Hand in North Plains, Oregon, employs an advanced building envelope that increases the amount of insulation and eliminates pathways for heated or cooled air to escape. This envelope, combined with smart siting and solar design, pushes the heating and cooling load of the home so low that a single ductless heating and cooling unit can heat and cool the entire home. With the home built airtight, a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) provides a constant supply of pre-conditioned fresh air to the home. The end result is an even temperature and more comfortable home all year long.
“Many homebuyers don’t consider that ongoing savings in operational energy costs of a high-performance home could offset the marginal increase in construction costs,” said Sam Hagerman, of Hammer & Hand. “When monthly operational energy costs are combined with mortgage, taxes and insurance expense, building to the highest levels of energy efficiency can be no more expensive on a monthly basis than building a conventional custom home.”
Featured homebuilder projects from across the region include:
Each of these six homes is being featured on the Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes interactive website (http://www.northwestenergystar.com/super-efficient-homes) to highlight the construction of the home from breaking ground to move-in. The site includes photos from each build, the varying features incorporated into each home and an online blog which explores the construction process from the viewpoint of the builder, architect, verifier, utility and/or homeowner. The site additionally breaks down the technical components of a high-performance home into everyday language and illustrates the differences in energy efficiency across different labels, programs and state codes. To find a builder who is already building to tomorrow’s standards today, the website also provides homebuyers with a participating builder locator.
About the Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program
ENERGY STAR is a program of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designed to help the Northwest save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and programs. Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes is a regional program in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, intended to promote the construction of energy-efficient homes using the guidelines set forth by the EPA and is an initiative of the NEEA. To-date, over 20,000 homes have been certified throughout the Northwest through the Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program. http://www.northwestenergystar.com
About Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is a non-profit organization working to accelerate energy efficiency to meet our future energy needs. NEEA is supported by and works in collaboration with the Bonneville Power Administration, Energy Trust of Oregon and more than 100 Northwest utilities on behalf of more than 12 million energy consumers. NEEA uses the market power of the region to accelerate the innovation and adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices. Since 1997, NEEA and its partners have saved enough energy to power almost 600,000 homes each year. Energy efficiency can satisfy more than half of our new demand for energy, saving money and keeping the Northwest a healthy and vibrant place to live. http://www.neea.org