Saturday, August 30, 2008

Green Houses Guaranteed to Save Green Backs.

An Oklahoma home builder puts his money where his mouth is

By Christina Glennon

There is a lot of noise in the green building world these days. With green being used by everyone from product manufacturers with dubious claims of recycled content, to all natural material advocates unwilling to accept anything but a straw bale house as green. Consumers are left feeling confused, overwhelmed and unconvinced that green makes sense for them. But Oklahoma’s Ideal Homes has found a way to stand out from the crowd with their Guaranteed Utilities program for all new houses. Ideal Homes will guarantee that energy used for heating and cooling will not go over a pre-determined amount during the first 25 months after the close.

This is nothing new to Ideal Homes, who for six years has participated in the Environments for Living (EFL) program which guarantees each home’s heating and cooling use. EFL homes must meet energy-use performance guidelines set by the program and verified by a third party evaluator. EFL collects load calculations from the third party evaluator, in this case Guaranteed Watt Saver Systems, Inc., and the house plans from Ideal Homes. Using this information a computer model simulates the gas and electricity energy required to heat and cool each home. If the home’s use exceeds the guarantee, EFL will pay the difference.

Ideal Homes has now added this guarantee to all of their new homes. According to Vernon McKown, Ideal's co-owner and president of sales, "Now the home that keeps you comfortable all year long also guarantees to save you money on heating and cooling costs . . . it gives homebuyers peace of mind and confirms our energy performance claims." Ideal Homes is making the green payback concrete, by quietly cutting through the green noise.

--Christina Glennon is an administrative assistant at Taunton Press in Newtown, CT

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