BETH W. ORENSTEIN, The Morning Call
Want to build an energy-efficient home? There are a number of options locally.
The Department of Environmental Protection has an Energy Star program for homes just as it does refrigerators, washers and other appliances.
Owners of homes that have the Energy Star label are guaranteed to save at least 30 percent on their energy costs over what they would if they owned a similarly sized traditionally built home.
Energy Star homes have such features as specially coated windows, extra tight air ducts, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and extra insulation around the exterior walls.
A third party inspects the home while it is under construction to guarantee it is going to be extra energy efficient.
Tony Caciolo, president of Monogram Custom Homes in Upper Saucon Township, also builds energy efficient homes. For the last five years, he has won the energy efficiency category in the Lehigh Valley Builders Association's annual awards program.
He believes, however, his customers aren't interested as much in saving energy as they are in the comfort his energy-efficient building techniques offer.
Caciolo uses a zoned hot-water baseboard system -- the same type of heating that is in 95 percent of the homes in Europe. Caciolo's homes start at about $400,000.
"Because of my market," he says, "my people are more concerned about comfort and convenience than energy efficiency. But the energy efficiency is a nice side benefit."
The program, which costs about $700 for a 2,000-square-foot home, is available through builders or from the company.
Copyright The Morning Call. Reproduced with permission.