LANESVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- It may look like a typical new neighborhood home, but from bottom to top, from the foundation to the roof, it's not typical and that's what makes it one of the most energy efficient homes in Indiana.
Nick Romeo, owner of Nick Romeo builders, is one local home builder now sharply focused on saving energy. "I think people in general are a lot more conscientious now then what they used to be,” Nick said. “You don't have to be rich to do this. A lot of it is just strategy changes."
Bob Geswein taught Nick a lot about energy efficiency strategy through the Harrison County REMC Touchstone Home Energy Program. "The secret is, it's not a piece of equipment,” Bob said. “It's a strategy, of effective foundation, effective caulk and seal, effective insulation, effective windows and then correctly sized heating and cooling systems."
"We measure homes with a rating and we refer to it as H.E.R.S. This home, scored a 29. That is the most energy efficient home in the Touchstone Energy Home Program in the state of Indiana -- possibly in the nation."
Nick said a couple of the biggest improvements over the last 5-10 years in energy efficiency are spray-foam and geothermal. "So, when they spray this foam in, it expands to 100 times itself. It gets in all the cracks, crevasses and crannies and it makes a less drafty home, which makes it more comfortable," he said.
"Almost every house we build now has geothermal in it, because of the 30% federal tax credit. It has made it affordable, you know, for the average person to put it in," Nick said.
Nick and Bob said new windows with a thin metal oxide can put a big dent in your energy bill by keeping heat in during the winter and bouncing out UV rays during the summer.
They're going to spend $40 a month to heat and cool this house and the house is just a whole lot more comfortable. Homes like this do more in one year than an electric car would do over seven years. Take that seven years out a lifetime and then, the savings to the environment is huge.
Nick said he’s had customers come back to him and thank him for educating them on the benefits before they built, because once the Polar Vortex hit, they were appreciative of what they had.
Nick said the home owner may pay 5-7% more to build a home like this, but will save much more with lower energy bills.
For more on energy efficiency and the Harrison REMC, click here.