For many homebuyers today, building a “green” home isn’t just about being environmentally responsible. They also want a home that’s as energy efficient as possible to help them save money on their utility bills.
In response to the growing demand for energy efficient homes, Lexington-based Essex Homes is now marketing eBuilt homes that offer substantial savings on water, electricity and natural gas and an overall better way of building. The company’s eBuilt home uses 25 to 35 percent less energy than a typical new home and up to 65 percent less energy than homes 10 years or older. This innovative approach to home building is not just an optional feature, but a new standard for Essex.
Essex began building their eBuilt homes in the fourth quarter of 2011. An eBuilt home is constructed with advanced framing techniques, radiant barrier roof sheathing and 14 SEER all natural gas heating and cooling equipment. By using increased air sealants and installing additional air barriers around duct, pipes and framing, air loss is kept to a minimum. Before drywall installation, each eBuilt home is tested and verified by a third party and given a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score similar to the miles per gallon measure of an automobile.
Energy efficiency is also achieved with improved insulation. While building code requires R-13 insulation in walls and R-30 in attics, eBuilt homes include R-15 in exterior walls and R-50 in attic spaces. In comparison, an Energy Star rated home only requires R-38 insulation in the attic.
eBuilt homes also feature high-performance windows, programmable thermostats and low-flow water fixtures. On demand, or tankless, water heating is also part of the new standard. A natural gas tankless water heater, which heats water only when it’s needed, is up to 34 percent more energy efficient than a conventional tank water heater.
Essex estimates the annual energy cost savings of an eBuilt home is up to $1,300 over typical resale homes and up to $800 over typical newly constructed homes. For homebuyers who want to lower their energy costs while being environmentally conscious, an eBuilt home by Essex is an attractive option.