EPB, Habitat for Humanity and green|spaces have partnered to develop a cost-effective way to build highly energy-efficient homes that also provides health and environmental benefits. With the participation of home-buyer Tempestt Jordan, the partners worked together to pilot the new home-building guideline through the construction of a Habitat for Humanity House and measured the results.
After monitoring the home’s energy consumption during the first year of occupation, the partners found Ms.
Jordan saved more than $500 a year compared to the average residential monthly bill in the EPB service territory. The EPB Zero Energy Resource Guide is now available free of charge for all homebuilders in the EPB service are and the EPB Energy ProsSM are available to provide free consultations in following the guidelines to achieve optimal results for homebuyers.
Homebuyers interested in further enhancing the environmental sustainability have the opportunity to achieve full “Zero Energy” status for their home by using EPB Solar Share to offset their energy use at a cost of $5 per panel, per month.
“I’m honored to be the first homeowner to live in an EPB Zero Energy home,” said Ms. Jordan. “I’ve seen substantial savings on my energy bills, and my new home has such great air quality, my family is having fewer allergy problems.”
“The home was constructed with health and cost in mind,” said Habitat for Humanity CEO Jens Christensen. “This pilot home is more energy efficient and better for the environment. We’re currently in the process of working with EPB to build a second EPB Zero Energy house with another Habitat for Humanity homeowner, and we plan to build many more.”
“This initiative is a great example of Chattanooga’s long-standing commitment to smart sustainability,” said Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “This program is particularly important because it opens up a new path for sustainable growth and improves our environment while also helping homeowners save money.”
"The EPB Zero Energy Resource Guide is a list of measures that can be implemented to save energy and money. The guide provides an easy checklist of products and building practices that are proven to make homes more energy efficient and increase comfort and health," officials said.
“This is a very timely effort as we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of homes being built in Hamilton County,” said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. “Consumers are more interested today than ever before in energy efficiency and greener homes and products, and the new EPB Zero Energy Resource Guide represents an affordable way for people to align their homebuying with their values.”
"The EPB Zero Energy Resource Guide includes recommendations for building practices, insulation techniques and products, HVAC standards and indoor air quality considerations which will give homeowners a safer, healthier, less costly, lower maintenance home over the life of the house," officials said.
“As part of our mission to serve our whole community, we’re focused on providing our customers with expertise on affordable ways of enhancing energy efficiency, sustainability, and health so that more of our customers can benefit,” said EPB President & CEO David Wade.
Qualified contractors can also receive a new 2021 energy efficiency tax credit verification. Builders can get a one-time federal tax credit up to $2,000 if they meet the 50 percent energy efficiency standard.
green|spaces, a Chattanooga’s sustainability nonprofit, helped EPB develop the guide after the success of their NextGen Homes, a demonstration development of four homes completed in 2018 that explored how to build homes that can produce as much energy as they consume with a market-rate budget. After the NextGen Homes, green|spaces wanted to focus on affordable housing.
“We learned so much from our successful NextGen homes project, and we were thrilled to help EPB create this guide to explain practical and affordable strategies to make homes healthier and more efficient,” said green|spaces Executive Director Michael Walton. “This home is even more proof that green building should be available to all – regardless of income level.” green|spaces works with developers, architects, contractors, businesses and communities to explore sustainability options that make sense for their project or neighborhood.
"EPB Energy Pros can work with homebuilders to register for and implement the U.S. E.P.A. Indoor Air Plus certification as well. This certification ensures that a home is built to avoid common issues like water intrusion, dust and particulate matter that negatively impact health and air quality," officials said. "Both contractors and residential customers who are planning to build homes who would like more information can contact our EPB Energy Pros by calling 423-648-1372 to set up a free consultation in person or by phone. There is more info available at www.epb.com/energypros as well."