As sustainable building – “green” construction that uses environmentally friendly materials and saves energy and water – becomes more mainstream, homebuyers are discovering how green-built homes can last longer, have fewer problems, be cheaper to live in and keep them more comfortable.
When it comes to saving energy, NIPSCO is offering incentives to local builders and developers for new home construction that’s good for the environment and also lowers monthly utility bills for homeowners.
“These NIPSCO rebates are something we can offer our customers to make up for some of the difference in cost when it comes to energy efficient equipment,” Rich Cook of Cook Builders said. “If the equipment costs an additional $1,500 and you receive $900 in rebates, most people want to know how long it will take to make up the difference in energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is a great thing, but it also needs to be cost-effective to a point.”
Cook, who has been building green homes since 2007, continues to build over and above what the current code demands - Indiana adopted new energy efficiency guidelines in accordance with the previous Energy Star for Builders program last year – and consistently earns a Gold Star HERS Rating (less than or equal to 67) and the highest possible rebate from NIPSCO.
“Our homes usually score in the 50s,” he said. “When you are comparing new construction with an existing home, it’s important to remember that everything is brand new. That’s why it will cost more than a home that’s even 10 years old and especially one that’s 20-30 years old. There have been significant improvements in energy efficiency over the last five years, and it’s a good thing that it’s now being mandated.”
Also a longtime proponent of green building, Sarah Oudman of Treasure Homes is the impetus behind the Northwest Indiana Home Builders Association’s Green Building Council. Her homes consistently score in the 40s and also receive the highest possible NIPSCO rebates.
“It’s something we can use to incentivize people to explore different options,” she said. “For example, in the home we recently completed in The Village of Burns Harbor, it was an encouragement for the homeowner to choose a higher efficiency air conditioner. The rebates are a nice tool, and the paperwork is very simple. I find it easier this year than before.”
Ask your builder about NIPSCO’s Residential New Construction Program for complete details.