50% of New Home Buyers Seek Energy Efficiency

Why build with SIPs?

According to the Zillow Group’s Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017, 50 percent of new construction home buyers are looking for energy efficiency. The survey asked more than 13,000 households what they wanted most in their new homes, and energy efficiency ranked number 10 behind basic features such as number of bedrooms and the right price range.

If you’re a builder looking to grow your business, start with the shell. Thermocore structural insulated panels not only provide energy efficiency with the best R-values and zero thermal gaps, they also make home building quicker and easier. Contact us for more information or a free quote.

Energy-Efficient Homes Bring Higher Sale Prices

You might expect that if you sell your energy-efficient SIPs home, prospective buyers will appreciate the monthly savings on their utility bills. In fact, according to a recent report from the North Carolina Building Performance Association (NCBPA), high-performance homes garnered an average 9.5% premium. Using the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index (a way to quantify how much energy you save), the study showed a strong correlation between lower HERS scores and higher total sale prices and prices per square foot.

Guess what? Homes built with Thermocore structural insulated panels consistently score lower on the HERS Index – which means a higher expected return if you ever choose to leave your comfortable, energy-efficient SIPs home. The NCBPA’s report studied three North Carolina metro areas, but experience shows the same results across the country. A higher sale price is just one more payback from your Thermocore SIPs investment.

Energy Efficiency and Magazine-Worthy Design

When Jamie and Simon Sangar decided to build a modern, energy-efficient home in Indianapolis, they carefully considered options to meet their dreams for design and functionality, while staying within their budget. The resulting three-story home turned out so well that Indianapolis Monthly magazine featured it as Home of the Month in their January 2018 issue.

In choosing what to cut and what to keep in their budget, the Sangars included Thermocore structural insulated wall and roof panels. “Choosing Thermocore SIPs meant that our walls were built indoors in a factory, unexposed to the weather elements, and then delivered on two semis to the job site,” Jamie said. “A crane and a framing crew set the walls, which drastically cut down on framing labor and time.”

In her Mod Abode blog, Jamie added, “All of our electrical and window/door rough opens were cut by computers, taking the human error factor out of the equation. Conduit is run through the foam wall panels where electrical is needed, structural headers are placed inside the wall panels where needed above windows and doors, and extra support can be planned within the walls if you know that you’re going to have something heavy to hang (for example, our bathroom floating cabinets).”

The Sangar’s SIPs decision means lasting payback. “In the coldest of winter months, our heating bill is $40 to heat our entire 3,600 square foot home!” Jamie said. “We’re very happy customers and would highly recommend Thermocore SIPs for future projects!”

Come See Us

Want to see what Thermocore SIPs can do for you? Need tips to make your timber frame or log home more efficient and easier to build? Visit us at one of these Johnson’s Log Home and Timber Frame Consumer Expos:

Grand Rapids, MI
November 10 – November 12, 2017
Deltaplex Conference Center
West River Hall

Allentown, PA
January 5 – January 7, 2018
Allentown Fairgrounds
Agri-Plex Annex

Columbus, OH
January 26 – January 28, 2018
Ohio State Fairgrounds
Rhodes Center Building

Visit Johnson’s Log Home and Timber Frame Shows for tickets.

No Limits

Don’t let anyone tell you that building with SIPs puts any limits on architecture. With Thermocore’s customized structural insulated panels, Indianapolis design firm One 10 Studio has won numerous awards for both residential and commercial projects.

A 3,300 square-foot home they designed in Bloomington, Indiana, won the 2015 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Indiana Merit Award. The SIPs also helped minimize irritations for neighbors. “That was a relatively tight lot, and Thermocore’s SIPs installers were able to come in very quickly and efficiently and get the shell up in just a couple days, as opposed to having framers out there banging wood together for weeks,” said Patrick Kestner, project manager and associate at One 10 Studio.

On the commercial side, the firm designed a $1.2 million, two-story office building for Reliant Partners in Indianapolis. That project won the 2016 Indy Chamber Monumental Merit Award for Architecture and the 2016 AIA Indiana Citation Award. “Reliant Partners wanted something well-designed, but they were also looking to keep operating expenses to a minimum,” Patrick said. “With Thermocore structural insulated wall and roof panels, they saw the value and the payoff of using more sustainable systems.”

One 10 Studio’s design for Irvington Lofts—two three-story buildings with 50 affordable housing units near downtown Indianapolis—won the 2017 AIA Indianapolis Citation Award, 2015 AIA Indiana Honor Award, 2015 Lt. Governor’s Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing–Urban, and 2014 Indy Chamber Monumental Merit Awards for Neighborhood Revitalization and for Real Estate Development. “Constructability and the economics of SIPs definitely played a part, especially for the Lt. Governor’s and Indy Chamber awards,” Patrick said.

Building with SIPs not only reduces energy costs and provides a more comfortable environment—it also supports some of the best architecture around. (See One 10 Studio’s case study.)

SIPs and the Island “Buildstyle”

Thermocore Panel Systems recently completed a fifth SIPs home on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Though not our highest concentration of SIPs homes, for an island it’s tops! As crews completed installation of Thermocore insulated wall and roof panels in less than a week, I was struck by the difference between building on mainland vs. an island. Consider that all the materials for this home had to be moved to the island by ferry. That makes efficiency extremely important. With Thermocore insulated roof and wall panels, the builder ferried the framing and insulation in one product—precut so there’s no waste. How much less waste might be generated if you knew you’d have to ferry it away? Maybe the laid-back island lifestyle isn’t the only thing worthy of dreams. Couldn’t the efficient island “buildstyle” benefit the environment and all homeowners’ wallets?

Renewed Tax Credit

Congress has passed 45L tax credit which allows for $2,000.00 tax credit for building with Thermocore Panels.  This is an extension of the Energy Efficient Home credit.  Here is the gist of it…..

45L Tax Credit

Recent tax legislation extended the Energy Efficient Home Credit which offers a 45L Tax Credit of $2,000 per dwelling unit to developers of energy efficient apartment buildings and homes.

Eligible 45L Tax Credit Apartment Buildings & Condos:
A dwelling unit should provide a level of heating and cooling energy consumption that is significantly less than certain national energy standards, dependent on when the unit is sold or leased. Based on current construction trends, many developments already exceed these standards. Given that current energy codes have evolved tremendously over the past five years, many developers are already building to specifications that would meet the criteria for this credit. All apartment buildings and residential condominium developments completed within the last 4 years are worth assessing for potential 45L tax credits. Eligible construction also includes substantial reconstruction and rehabilitation. Developers can still claim the 45L tax credit retroactively if they did not claim them on previous tax returns.

Who can benefit?

Apartment, Condominium, and Single-Family Residence Developers.
The Energy Efficient Home Credit offers a tax credit of $2,000 per dwelling unit to developers of energy efficient buildings completed after August 8, 2005. The following types of projects should be considered:

 Affordable housing (LIHTC)  Rehabilitation
 Apartment buildings  Residential condominiums
 Assisted living housing  Student housing
 Production home developments  Substantial reconstruction

Sample Benefits:

50 qualified units = $100,000 in 45L tax credits
100 qualified units = $200,000 in 45L tax credits
1000 qualified units = $2,000,000 in 45L tax credits

How SIPs and Energy-Efficient Financing Upgrade Your Home

Turns out SIPs not only save money in energy costs, they also help you afford a nicer home! According to an article about financing energy-efficient homes on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, an energy-efficient mortgage (EEM) can help you qualify for a more expensive home.

How does it work? To verify energy savings, EEM lenders consider the HERS rating from a home energy audit. The smaller the number on your HERS report the better—and homes built with Thermocore structural insulated panels consistently score lower on the HERS index. For instance, Bart Rynish of Barton Designs achieved a HERS rating of 35 with Thermocore SIPs, saving the homeowner hundreds of dollars per year on heating bills.

Lenders figure the less you spend on utility bills, the more you can afford for mortgage payments when you build, remodel, or refinance. Not only will you enjoy the comfortable temperatures, quiet, and sturdiness of your Thermocore SIPs home, you’ll relax in upgraded livings spaces thanks to energy-efficient financing.

SIPs and Global Warming

The Federal Government just put forth another round of global warming information. Did you read it? Do you care? Most people say they do care. Unfortunately, most people’s actions say they don’t care.

We now live in a world where it’s possible to get 40 miles per gallon in our cars and consume 1/3 less energy in our buildings. But both options take an upfront investment—something most people aren’t doing, despite the long-term savings.

No one says they want their children to inherit a world that’s warmer and more polluted. However, without action, the experts agree that’s where we’re headed. If that does become the future, how will later generations view us? We recognize the problem but are unwilling to take steps to correct it.

I’m much better at asking questions (the easy part) than providing answers (the hard part)—until it comes to building. Structural insulated panels are a significant answer to much of the global warming process. Surely too bold a statement. Until you consider this:

  • SIPs use OSB instead of studs for structure, meaning up to 35% less lumber with SIPs vs. stick framing. Leave the trees in the ground where they do the most good at protecting the Earth and our future!
  • Buildings with structural insulated panels use less energy than stick-framed structures. Period. No debate. More SIPs equals less energy used.

Structural insulated panels can and will reduce global warming…as long as you choose to build with them.