Just six months after being unveiled, SEM's efficiency program for new home construction already has 20 builders participating.
MORRISVILLE, NC - A program aimed at energy efficiency is generating some positive energy of its own: less than six months after being launched, the ecoHOME Program already has 20 builders signed up to build energy efficient homes. The program is intentionally designed to be builder-friendly while giving homeowners a quality new house that addresses energy efficiency, water efficiency and indoor air quality.
ecoHOME got off to a fast start, winning a 2012 Triangle Business Journal "Clean & Green Award" and being officially endorsed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) as one of only six EnergySmart programs in the United States. The ecoHOME program pairs common sense efficiency upgrades with RESNET's Home Energy Rating System (HERS) to give each certified home its own version of a "miles per gallon." Most ecoHOMEs earn a HERS Index score below 75, meaning they use 25 percent less energy than a home built to the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code.
"H&H was looking for a program that set us apart from other builders and differentiated our quality and high standards. We wanted buyers to have a program they could understand and compare to other builders," said Ned Johnson, Purchasing Manager at H&H Homes. "ecoHOME gives us flexibility and credibility in crafting an energy program that we can get behind and promote without a lot of extra costs."
The ecoHOME Program is designed and maintained by Southern Energy Management (SEM), an energy efficiency and solar installation company based in Morrisville, North Carolina. The building performance team at SEM relied on its expertise from more than ten years of verifying homes to various nationally-recognized energy efficiency and green building programs to design this new program. That experience allowed SEM to balance the most cost effective and high impact strategies to create ecoHOME so it benefits both the builder and homeowner.
"We are overjoyed with the way ecoHOME has already evolved. There were nearly 275 ecoHOME-certified homes built in 2012, and the momentum is really starting to build. It is already easy to see that 2013 is going to be an absolutely tremendous year for the program," said SEM Building Performance Operations Director Michael Peaden. "Builders not only understand what we're offering, they also appreciate the value this program provides to their customers, which is ultimately the most important thing."
"The ecoHOME program is a good fit for the buyers in my market and my business. It complements the NAHB National Green Building Standard program which we certify about 90 percent of our homes through," said Bob Latvala with Sawyer Homes. "The ecoHOME program also gives me a HERS rating, which is something that I can sell to my buyers. I can show them that my houses are even more efficient than houses rated under other programs. In the end this is what you need to talk about with the buyer. It is another way to show customers value in what they are purchasing."
The 20 initial ecoHOME builders include top-100 companies, such as H&H Homes, and custom home builders with a long history of building high-quality green homes, like Chandler Design Build. There is even a group of three companies combining to call themselves East Lake Builders that is planning an entire subdivision certified to ecoHOME standards.
"The great thing about making East Lake 100 percent ecoHOME is that our homeowners will know everyone around them is also living in an energy efficient home. That should foster some great conversations and increased awareness about lower utility bills," said Stacy Johnson with Johnson Construction Company, one of the companies participating in East Lake Builders. "It's a bonus for every home and helps the entire neighborhood sell itself."
Builders interested in joining ecoHOME can visit the program website at buildecoHOME.com.
Media Contact: Chris Cowperthwaite, SEM: firstname.lastname@example.org or (866) 575-9151
About Southern Energy Management
Southern Energy Management is a North Carolina-based sustainable energy company offering energy efficiency, green building and turn-key solar services for homeowners, builders, and business owners across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. A certified B Corp, SEM's two-part mission is to improve the way people make and use energy and to build a prosperous company that supports people and the planet. SEM was founded in a living room in Raleigh in 2001, and is now consistently recognized as an industry leader both locally and nationally. Its ecoHOME program won the 2012 Triangle Business Journal Clean & Green Award for Entrepreneurial Effort/Innovation Idea. SEM is among a small handful of companies in the U.S. to earn the national 2012 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award for being named Partner of the Year six consecutive times. SEM was named a CED NC Company to Watch in 2011 and received the 2011 City of Raleigh Environmental Stewardship. For more information, visit www.southern-energy.com.