Construction crews are busy building a home unlike any other in the area. Their latest project is an energy-efficient home that has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – or “LEED” – certification. From the street, the house appears to look like any other but a closer look reveals some cutting edge features that have huge benefits for both the homeowners and the environment.
For example, there’s fire-retardant insulation made of recycled newspaper content. This keeps the house warmer and keeps newspapers out of landfills, where they contribute 8 million tons of CO2 emissions each year. As for the drywall, it contains about 99% recycled material, which is 50% more resistant to mold than other drywall and generates 60% less dust. Even the windows are energy efficient.
“We created essentially an entire air assembly that stops air leakage from the outside getting into the house, which causes a lot of energy efficiency loss in a traditional-built home,” said Ron Fesseler, Construction Manager for JB Architecture, the Naperville-based company designing and building the home.
This 4,300 square foot building will be the city’s first LEED-certified home and one of only 16 state-wide.
“It’s a way of designing and building a home and evaluating everything that goes into it in terms of energy efficiency, in terms of the types of materials that we use to make the house perform better,” said Jon Bieritz, president of JB Architecture.
That better performance comes with a higher initial cost than that of traditional homes. Builders say that LEED-certified homes tend to cost as much as 8% more than a comparable traditional home, but the return on investment for homeowners is well worth it in the long run.
“To heat and cool and provide hot water for this house, average utility bills are estimated now to be at $75 to $80 a month,” said Fesseler.
That’s about half the cost to operate a traditional home and adds up to more than $1,000 in annual savings.
Realtors have already sold the house. The homeowners declined to comment but they expect to move in as soon as construction crews finish the house by the end of May.
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