Our House’s Energy Star Rating

We’ve been in our house for almost a year now. We didn’t go into it thinking we needed to build a green and efficient house … but it sure seems to have turned into that! We won’t know for a while exactly how well the energy efficiency performs because we weren’t able to start the off-peak electricity right away, and our tankless hot water heater didn’t get installed until later than expected (the gas lines weren’t run to our development until after we had officially moved in). But if it turns out to be anything like the numbers, it looks very promising!

Here’s a portion of our Energy Star Rating Certificate:

Hultin Household Energy Star Rating Certificate

Hultin Household Energy Star Rating Certificate

This is just an excerpt … there are plenty of numbers a person could review. But this scale was so powerful to me.

  • An existing home typically scores 130 on the HERS scale.
  • A new home typically scores 100.
  • A┬átheoretical┬áhome that consumed absolutely no energy would score 0.
  • Our home scored 53 … way better than a typical new home!

Rumor has it that our home could be one of the most energy efficient residences in the state!

Cold Weather, Warm Floor!

The cold weather appears to be here to stay for the season. Sure, there may still be a few nice days, but it’s pretty safe to say that we are well into “make sure the heat is on!” weather now. While I don’t care for the cold months of North Dakota I have to say that it will be much more tolerable this year, thanks in large part to the in-floor heating in our house.

It has quickly become one of my favorites in our house. Stepping on a floor that’s already warm is such a treat! Energy efficiency plus comfort … what a combination! It’s such a comfortable, steady heat. Now … if only the gas company can finally get that last section of line run to our house we’ll also be able to enjoy warmth on our second story too.

Our House has been Dedicated to the Lord!

What a neat experience! I just returned from a trip to our new house with Pastor Dave Bruns. He very kindly fulfilled my request to offer a prayer of dedication for our new house. I gave him a quick tour, and then he briefly read out of Exodous 3, explaining that like the ground around the burning bush, the house has been claimed as Holy ground.

It was a quick, simple meeting and prayer … and it really meant a lot to me!

The Cree LR6 – A Beautiful Light!

Our family is building a new house, and like anyone building their dream home we want it to be “just right.” After all, this is the home we’d like to retire in! We’ve already done a lot of “just right” things, including using an ultra-energy efficient ICF construction system (Amvic) and Shuco windows. We also plan on using tankless water heater (most likely a Rinnai system).

We also want to do the lights right. My first though was to use compact flourescents, but I found something better … MUCH better! It’s the Cree LR6, which uses LEDs to produce the light.

After my wife discovered some horror stories about how some families had pretty big potential health issues with broken CFLs (because of the mercury content) I thought, “There has to be a better way.” One night I had one of my kid’s LED flashlights in my hand and began to wonder if LEDs were being developed for residential lighting.

They are, but they’re not quite yet ready for prime-time (except for the Cree LR6). While there are definitely some big pros on LED lights (ridiculously low energy consumption and long life) there are still some big obstacles that need to be overcome. The two biggest obstacles from my view are the very directional nature of the light (no warm glow from these bulbs!) and the lack of intensity. Higher initial cost may also be a factor for many, but for us … we’re building this house for the long haul so LEDs will pay for themselves in about 6 years by my math.

I’m happy to report that the Cree LR6 has very elegantly overcome these two obstacles! I had the opportunity to take one home yesterday and try it out. The light is quite simply, beautiful! Cree has found a way to create light with a very eye-pleasing color that doesn’t just shine a narrow beam straight down … it spreads out evenly like any other recessed light. And it’s bright! Other LEDs just always seemed to leave me wanting more intensity. The Cree delivers!

And now the best part is the math! I’ll have more to say on that later when we are ready to finalize the location (and quantity) of lights in our house. But for now the future looks bright, thanks to Cree!

Here are two more links from Cree I found helpful when doing my research:

It’s Time to Build a House!

At long last we are now able to experience some tangible progress on our new house project! Last Friday (August 29, 2008) our builder was able to obtain the building permit. This is big, big news as there were any number of small administrative issues that needed to be cleared up at city hall. It appears the people that sold us the land have some other bills to pay, and even though we own our lot free and clear we still ended up getting slowed down as the details were being sorted out. I am quickly learning that there is much more to building a house than just pounding nails.

Then today I was taking the kids to the park and we decided to make a quick run to the lot … just to peek! And there they were. Four small stakes in the ground designating the corners of our lot! Progress! Honest-to-goodness progress!!! So that is hopefully a sign that the hole will be dug this week and the foundation will be established. Weather permitting (it rained pretty hard tonight) and God willing we’ll be able to make some significant progress this week.

Groundbreaking at the Hultin lot

Groundbreaking at the Hultin lot

The picture included with this post is pretty fun too! My partner Mike Stevens gave us three small shovels for our kids to use for a groundbreaking ceremony and that was exactly what we did! We went out to our lot, had a quick family prayer, and then let the kids dig in. They had a blast!

And then to bring us back to reality, there’s the special assessment notice we just received in the mail. Oh yeah, we have to pay for this fun project too. Time to get back to work and sell more websites!

%d bloggers like this: