Goals of Innovation: That through proper planning, design, and building, a large home can have comparatively small operating costs while maintaining a comfortable interior temperature all year around.
Description: The Nebraska Energy Office collaborated with the home’s builders to make sure this major project goal was understood and supported by all necessary parties. The staff architect worked with the builder during the home’s design to help create a large, modern home that reduces the use of nonrenewable energy resources. This was done in such a way so the home had strong appeal to the traditional home buyer’s market.
Obstacles: The contractor and all subcontractors are Nebraska Certified Green Builders and members of the Nebraska Green Building Council. Consequently, everyone "bought in" and contributed to the energy efficient technologies, techniques, and materials used. This collaboration shows that green building is gradually entering the mainstream of American homebuilding. In other circumstances, however, it might be more challenging for a homeowner and/or general contractor to assure specified green building techniques were always followed by subcontractors.
Cost Information: As staff architects and builders were familiar with green construction, there was no real learning curve involved. There was tremendous collaboration among all parties. Upfront costs of green building are almost always higher than traditional building costs. It is estimated that costs associated to this part of the project increased square foot costs by less than 5%.
Additional Benefits/Drawbacks: The Home Energy Rater estimates that this home will have a total annual heating/cooling cost of $614 a year. This is a 50% reduction when compared to the estimated annual energy cost of a comparable Lincoln, Nebraska home built without “green building” techniques. Other benefits include better indoor air quality, improved overall comfort due to the “tightness” of the home, and lower annual maintenance costs.