Home » Local Green Builder Breaks into Energy Saving Retrofit Market

Local Green Builder Breaks into Energy Saving Retrofit Market

Source: Annette Roth, Thurston Energy

As an organization that is dedicated to helping local residents save energy and money, Thurston Energy is continually looking to expand its service offering to our customers. The commitment to our mission of creating jobs while saving energy and money extends to our partnerships with local contractors that provide energy retrofits. We have recently begun collaborating in a unique ‘whole building’ approach with a well-respected local green builder, Scott Bergford of Scott Homes.

When he began building houses in the mid-1980s, Bergford’s primary focus as a business owner was to distinguish his company from its competitors. “At the time, we were trying to brand ourselves as a better builder,” he recalls. “When all the other guys were building houses with 2 x 4s, we built them with 2 x 6s. We wanted to provide a better product to our customers… Later we realized that our building practices were green in nature.”

In 1994, a client asked Bergford if he could build a super-efficient home, using structural insulated panels (SIPs). The SIPs performed better than they expected, providing even more energy efficiency savings to the customer than the manufacturer stated. “We were so surprised by how well the products performed, that we decided to go in that (green) direction,” Bergford says. “We’ve never looked back.”

Over the course of the next 17 years, Bergford immersed his company in the green building market. He got involved in the local green building community, helping to build the Built Green program here in the South Sound. He’s participated in a number of local and national energy efficiency building programs, including the Department of Energy’s Building America program (administered through Washington State University), which helps Scott Homes improve its overall building practices and minimize energy leakage in homes. The company has also won numerous green building awards, including the National Association of Home Builders 2009 EnergyValue Housing Awards (EVHA) Builder of the Year. The EVHA awards, which are presented in partnership with the DOE, honor builders who voluntarily incorporate energy efficiency into all aspects of new home construction.

“We’ve been doing really well for a long time building new energy-efficient houses, and about mid-2010, decided to expand our service offerings by providing energy remodels to existing homes.” The remodels provide a one-stop solution to whole-house energy efficiency needs, and are designed to provide a smooth and easy process for homeowners who need major energy efficiency upgrades to their homes.

The process begins with a HomePLUSTM energy use evaluation from Thurston Energy. This building science-based evaluation takes a comprehensive look at a home to get a full picture of a home’s energy efficiency needs. For homes that may require deep retrofits, Scott Homes’ Northwest Energy Team can provide those retrofits quickly and easily.

“Thurston Energy is dedicated to creating local jobs and saving homeowners and businesses money and energy.  Our collaboration with Scott Homes takes our ability to have a whole-building concept to the next level,” says Joshua Cummings, Business Manager for Thurston Energy. “Scott Homes is a local institution in the building market and we are proud to call him our partner to help people save money and be more comfortable in their home or office.”

Once a retrofit project is underway, Bergford and his team provide extensive education to their customers – discussing project options, information about heat transfer and energy efficiency, and how various systems in a house are related to each other. One of the most important things they discuss with their clients is air infiltration and proper ventilation. According to Bergford, the number one thing a homeowner can do to make their home more comfortable is to make it air-tight, which has the added benefit of making it more energy efficient. He stresses to his clients the importance of venting and the best way to bring fresh air into the home for excellent indoor air quality. “We want to empower the homeowner through good education to make the right decision for their homes,” he says.

The response they’ve gotten from their clients has been spectacular. “We’ve heard so many positive things from our customers – their house is cozier, the air is cleaner, they feel better in their houses.”
For his part, Bergford sees great potential for the future of energy retrofits. “Doing these energy retrofits has been so fun for me,” he says. “It’s so gratifying to see that we’ve made an immediate difference in our customers’ lives. There’s so much potential out there to help people in their homes, and I am happy to be a part of it.”

For more information about making your home more energy efficient, contact Thurston Energy (www.thurstonenergy.org) at 360.528.2112 or Northwest Energy Team (www.northwestenergyteam.com) at 360.357.9167.

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