ENERGY STAR Ready Modular Home
Larry and Diane Korte of The Balance Group, Inc. decided, after years of consulting with the factory-built housing industry, that our preferred next home would fit our lifestyle by being beautiful, energy efficient, easy to maintain and perfect for aging in place with some Universal Design features.
Although not designed by Sarah Susanka of “Not So Big House” fame, our education through her books was reflected in our home style choice and the customization we chose. By 2006, the year we found our 5 acre homesite; we had chosen a modular, The Buckeye by Discovery Custom Homes. We had stood in this home numerous times at various national home shows and were big fans of Tony Lucas, the designer.
Here are some of the home’s features:
- 2”x 6” exterior walls, cement board
- 9’ ceilings with transom windows
- Foundation System:
Poured foundation with full 36” crawl space and partial full basement for utilities and storm shelter
- Upgraded face framing for multiple gables
- Hardwood floors: On site installed pre-stained oak throughout (factory installed ceramic tile in kitchen and baths)
- Site built garage: Moved access door in floorplan to minimize grading and allow one step access. Garage dimensions allow for dimension of step to be wide enough for a walker. Bought matching windows, exterior lighting fixtures and trim to match home from manufacturer.
- Ground source heat pumps are among the most energy efficient systems available. Depending on the situation, typical energy savings are from 25% to 70%. According to the U.S. EPA, these systems have the lowest life cycle cost of any HVAC system. Although they usually cost more to install, they generally require less maintenance and repairs.
- Heating and cooling system: Lower cost option using factory installed duct work tied into on-site completed trunk for air handling.(Not in floor hydronic heating system.)
- Trench: 400 foot into rear yard.
- 2 lines on outside bottom of trench wall and 2 lines returning 1/2 way up the wall.
- Very comfortable, even heating and cooling. Very quiet.
Solar Panels (ground-mounted)
In 2010 we decided to invest in both types of solar panels, one set to generate electricity and a second set to heat our hot water. We were grateful to have enough land to ground mount them in our rear yard. We had visited homes with them on the roof and didn’t like the idea of the additional weight and wear and tear on our home’s roof. Our photovoltaic solar panels give us greater efficiency by adjusting their angle four times a year (an easy chore standing on the ground vs. climbing on the roof). We chose not to have a battery bank for storage given the characteristics of the batteries in 2010. With a home based business we wanted to ensure steady power for the technology to serve our customers and decided to be tied to the grid.
- Photovoltaic-electricity (maintained connection to the grid)
- 4.7 KW
- Thermal – hot water
As first time developers, our site development and home were completed within 3 months and within 1% of our original budget.