Couple Makes Smart Energy Use a Priority when Building New Home

Couple Makes Smart Energy Use a Priority when Building New Home

We Energies/Florence Utility Commission

Florence, Wis. – When Jeff and Karen Forbes decided to build a new home, the couple took the lead and served as their own general contractors. They built a home that is not only beautiful, but also extremely energy efficient.

The Forbes are the owners of the first FOCUS ON ENERGY® Certified New Home built in Florence County since 2012, with their commitment to energy efficiency producing a home that is an impressive 38% more efficient than required by state building code. As a result, the home is more comfortable, durable and energy efficient than the typical Wisconsin home.

A long-term employee of WPPI Energy, Jeff Forbes was familiar with Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s utility-funded energy efficiency and renewable resource program.

“Having experience with energy efficiency in my career, I felt strongly we should build a home with low energy consumption,” Forbes said. “We hope to live in this home for quite some time, so energy efficiency was a major consideration.”

Focus on Energy connected the couple with building performance consultant Chuck Greening, who provided education, recommendations, inspections and final testing of the home. Greening visited the home twice during construction and spent about five hours inspecting the finished product in October 2019.

The 2,768 square-foot home features:

  • Measured infiltration (air tightness) exceeding the program standard by more than 70%
  • A ventilation rating 106% higher than the program requirement
  • In-floor heating supplemented with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) with ECM, an efficient way to bring in new, filtered air while removing stale air filled with humidity and pollutants
  • A well pump with a variable speed drive, which saves energy by adjusting motor speed to maintain water pressure
  • A high-efficiency septic force main pump, LED disk lights, super-efficient appliances, triple-pane windows, high levels of insulation in the walls and roof, extensive slab insulation methods, and a smaller-than-recommended furnace

Jeff highly recommends working with Focus on Energy when building a new home, especially in northern Wisconsin.

“With significantly more heating degree days in northern Wisconsin, building energy [efficiently] pays off when you consider the fuel spend alone,” he noted. “Additionally, the comfort of the home is far superior to our previous home and, should we decide to sell the down the road, the resale value should be higher due to this certification.”

Forbes encourages any local residents interested in learning more about his experience with energy-efficient home building to call him at 715.495.7604.

Karen and Jeff Forbes' new home in Florence


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