Midwest Sustainable Construction homes are typically 50-70% more energy efficient than conventional code-built homes. You’ll receive a detailed analysis of the home you plan to build, to show you exactly how much energy you’ll save each month.
For example, the blower door test measures how tight a house is, specifically how many times per hour the air inside is exchanged. An older home typically allows 7-10 air exchanges per hour. That’s a lot of wasted energy escaping from the house. Where we live in Minnesota, the building code allows not more than three air exchanges per hour for new construction. That’s certainly a lot better. But…
A Midwest Sustainable Construction home allows just one half to one air exchange per hour. That’s three to six times better than what Minnesota code allows.
That’s the difference between leaving a 36” x 36” window open all year ’round, or leaving your front door open an inch and a half every day of the year.
You wouldn’t leave a window or your front door open 24 hours a day all year ’round no matter how hot, cold, or humid it got outside, would you?
Then why build a home based on building code that produces the same energy- and money-wasting result? For blower door test details, visit Energy.gov
Continued advancements in green technology, plus the rapidly growing number of people using it, have dramatically reduced the cost to own and operate a sustainably built home. Wall systems using SIPs are both less expensive and faster to build than traditional stick-built construction. Home buyers are often pleasantly surprised to discover they can live in a comfortable new energy-efficient home with healthy indoor air for a monthly cost comparable to living in an older house that wasn’t built to such high standards.
Whether you’re a first-time home buyer seeking a modest design and affordable monthly payment… or you’re ready to build a custom-designed forever home that meets all of your aging-in-place needs…
or a family member’s health depends on clean indoor air free from allergens, pollen, mold and VOCs… there’s a Midwest Sustainable Construction home to fit your budget.
You may find you can afford a much nicer home! Say you have $1,000 a month to spend on a mortgage and utilities. You could buy an older house with a $750 monthly mortgage and $250 in monthly utilities. Or you could build one of our sustainable homes with a $900 mortgage and $100 in utilities. You’ll spend $1,000 a month either way. But your sustainably built home will be far nicer, more comfortable, and more healthful than the older house.
Another financial benefit you’ll enjoy in your Midwest Sustainable Construction home is stable month-to-month operating cost throughout the year. No alarming spikes in energy usage, no budget-busting bills in hot or cold weather. It’s hard to put a dollar value on peace of mind, but freedom from worry is surely worth something.
Tax incentives will vary depending upon your state and locality. There are several Energy Star Certified programs that may qualify for tax incentives. These include Indoor Air Quality Plus, Net Zero Ready, and Water Sense. We can build and certify your home under any of these programs.
Lenders in your locality may offer mortgages or other loans tailored to energy efficient homes. Visit Energy Star for more information.
Last, consider the cost savings and health benefits provided by clean indoor air. Bacteria, mold, mildew, dust, VOCs, and other toxins can build up inside a typical code-built house. All of these may contribute to, or worsen, family members’ allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments. When you add up the cost of sick days, missed work, medical treatment and care – not to mention the discomfort of those affected – it makes sound financial sense to design those problems out of your home from the start.
Every project we design and build is independently third-party tested and certified by Johnson Environmental. They’re industry leaders in evaluating new homes for sustainable design, construction, and energy efficiency under the following programs.
- The National Green Building Standard (NGBS), for sustainable high-performance construction designs, materials and methods that conserve natural resources and minimize a home’s environmental impact.
- Energy Star certification, to meet strict EPA criteria for low energy usage and top energy efficiency.
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building techniques and practices
We also do our own energy modeling, using objective third-party software so you can trust the results. As part of the planning and design process, you’ll get images and graphics of your future home that show the energy advantages and environmental benefits you’ll achieve, including:
- cost savings from your heating and cooling systems,
- lower energy usage throughout your home,
- carbon reduction,
- reduced greenhouse gas emissions,
- global warming offsets, and more.
For cost savings, energy efficiency, and your comfort, we’re committed to the Energy Star standard. It’s an overall system standard that governs not just design and construction, but also the products, materials, and the internal mechanical systems used to build your home. Quite simply, it’s a much higher building standard than conventional construction code.
To protect your family’s health, and the health of our environment, we specify materials that are free of red-listed chemicals. For example, our wall systems include a naturally mined mineral product called Structure Shield. You get safe, effective protection against termites and carpenter ants, with none of the highly toxic, health-threatening, environment-polluting chemicals permitted by conventional building code. Visit Green Building Alliance for a rundown of excluded red list materials.
Our cabinet suppliers provide certified clean cabinets with no formaldehyde or other red list toxins. The same is true of our flooring and other wood products, as well as the paints, coatings and sealants used in your home. All of the materials we specify are Green Guard Certified for zero formaldehyde, no or low VOCs, and no red list chemicals. Visit Greenguard.org for more ways Green Guard Certification protects your family’s health.
For a more complete technical explanation, send us an email to Info@mscmn.com to set up a friendly, no-obligation introductory meeting. We’ll be glad to get into the specifics of all the tests we perform to ensure your new home operates at peak efficiency, comfort and safety, including:
- The blower door test to prevent conditioned air leakage out of your home,
- Infrared camera analysis when the house is under negative pressure, to prevent unconditioned outside air leaking into your the home,
- Duct blast testing for air tightness and efficiency of the heating and cooling systems,
- The pressure pan test for duct fans and energy recovery ventilation systems, and
- The Energy Star comprehensive building standard that employs professionally trained independent testers to test and certify every aspect of your home for Energy Star compliance.
The good news is, existing homes can be made much more energy efficient, comfortable, and healthy by upgrading to the same technologies we design into the homes we build.
The process is known as a deep energy retrofit. It involves evaluating and upgrading every system in your home, including:
- the foundation,
- the building envelope,
- outer wall windows and doors,
- the roof,
- HVAC and mechanical systems,
- the plumbing system for hot water efficiency,
- lighting, appliances and other electrical considerations for energy savings,
- and more.
Visit Green Building Advisor for the general benefits homeowners enjoy with a deep energy retrofit. And remember, we’re here to answer your specific questions about your individual needs. You’re invited to send us an email to Info@mscmn.com to discover how a deep energy retrofit can benefit you and your particular home.
Absolutely! After all, the best advertising is by word of mouth. We’re always eager to share references from happy, satisfied Midwest Sustainable Construction homeowners. Please contact us by email at Info@msnmn.com to get the ball rolling.