Innovative Homes Lynnwood WA
Bainbridge Island, WA
Energy House III
Northwoods Custom Homes
Elk River, Minn.
Greg Holst, owner of Northwoods Custom Homes, jumped at the chance to build Energy House III. And though the construction of the energy-efficient demonstration home in the Minnesota community of Elk River wasn't the easiest process, Holst says he has no regrets now that the house is standing.
"We wanted a model [home] so people could come from all over the world to see what having an energy-efficient house really means," he says. Energy House III will remain open to the public for two years, after which it will be sold.
The house is a joint project overseen by the Suburban Northwest Builders Association, which formed a committee to make sure the project adhered to strict greenbuilding guidelines. During construction, Holst had to gain approval from the committee at every step, which was the toughest part of the building process, he admits. "It was a real eye-opener, but I did use a lot of the committee's input."
The house was built with structural insulated panels (SIPs), which consist of rigid foam insulation sandwiched between two structural skins of oriented strand board. Building with SIPs, which were used for the home's walls, roof and floors, was a change for builders used to working with traditional stick framing. But the SIPs helped speed build time, and will result in lower energy bills.
The house boasts a number of high-tech features as well. For instance, the future owners will be able to monitor and control the home's geothermal heating system and lighting systems remotely over the Internet to ensure optimal energy efficiency and comfort.
"We really are hoping there is a big market for this kind of energy-efficient home," Holst says. "We've watched energy prices rise over the last few years. It's become the No. 1 issue people talk about when looking for a house. We think it's going to be a very good market." http://www.energyhouseonline.com ; 763-441-4967.