Scott Bergford is a custom builder in Olympia, Washington, who is managing to keep his company afloat during the housing slump by building green, cottage-style homes that are affordable and use high-performance technologies and products. His Scott Homes are known to be â€œsome of the most energy efficient houses in Washington State.â€
The recently built 2,020-square-foot Inspiration Home is certified to Energy Star 3.0, EPA Indoor airPlus, and Built Green Level 5, and sold for $450,000.
Triple-pane windows that have a U-factor of 0.21 are from Vinyltek and cost about one-fourth that of comparable German-made windows, which have a slightly lower U-value.
AÂ 0.7 kilowatt solar thermal hot water system that cost about $7,000 consists of three panels that can be expanded to improve energy efficiency.
The heating and cooling system is a Mitsubishi FE12Â ductless heat pump that cost around $4,000 and keeps the houseâ€™s heating and cooling load down to around $15 per month. Estimated savings are $11,000 compared to radiant heat and about $21,000 over geothermal. The air temperature is kept balanced within two degrees with a Lifebreath recirculating HRV.
While costing more than traditional framing, the 12-inch SIPs roof and 10-inch SIPs walls contribute to a tight building envelope, with approximately 1.6 air changes per hour. The two-car garage that is built below the house is also tightly sealed, incorporating a ventilation system for fume exhaust.
Additional green features are a Whirlpool induction range, which is more energy efficient than gas and electric ranges, and a Caroma dual-flush toilet with an integrated sink in the master bathroom. Water from the sink drains into the tank to be reused when flushing the toilet.
â€œIn this home it was about the whole package,â€ said Bergford, in an interview with Eco Building Pulse. â€œWe were trying to reduce the total energy use of the home in as many ways as possible and show that you can make a really efficient house but not pay as much as some other green homes.â€