Energy efficiency does not have to be an expensive upgrade “option”

Green Building is not just an “option” with Sienna Building Company, it is the only way we build our homes. Many builders use energy efficient features as upgrade options for their clients. As a Certified Green Professional Builder from the NAHB (in fact the only one in Bend, Oregon) we view Green Building as a necessity not an option.

Because many builders view green building as an upgrade, homeowners believe that green building must be expensive. Sure there are many components that drive the cost of building up, but if you are smart in your planning before you design and build your home, then these “expensive options” become commonplace items in your overall budget. Lets use our latest project Bryce Canyon as an example because it happens to be the most energy efficient home we have ever built.

In this case we decided to go for the most efficient heating system, a radiant slab (or Hydronic Heat). This is a system of heated water going through tubing that is embedded in the concrete floors. Because this is a contemporary home we decided to have concrete as the finished floor, therefore saving money on carpet, hardwoods and tile. It sure is nice to wake up in the morning and step onto a nice warm floor!

blown in blanket foamWe framed eight-inch-thick walls on the main level and used a hybrid insulation system of two inches of closed cell spray foam (which air seals and insulates) and then added six inches of blown in blanket for a total R value 36.4. We use this hybrid insulation on all our homes. As we live in a very varied climate, this insulation will serve the homeowner well in both extremely cold weather, and hot summer temperatures.

We have not installed a water heater tank in over a decade, preferring to heat water “on demand” with a high efficiency tank-less water heater. Because we were heating the home with hot water, we were able to use the tank-less water heater for both the domestic water heating as well as heating the home! If you have teenagers in the house, you know this will be a lifesaver.

We designed the home to have passive cooling. As you know, hot air rises so we simply installed three solar powered venting skylights. When the house gets too warm all you need to do is open a door or window and open the skylights. The homes warm air is quickly replaced with cooler air. So simple.

Lastly, the entire home is outfitted with as many LED lights as possible. When you are shopping for LED lights, check if your power company offers any rebates. In our case we saved 33% on the purchase of these very efficient light bulbs.

Green building should not be just “an option.” With ever increasing costs of energy it is wise to invest on energy efficient selections for your next home. Our Bryce Canyon project has no shortcuts when it comes to amenities and was built for only $170.00 per square foot, which, in our market, is an exceptional value for a home this well-appointed.

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