In 1999, many builders probably thought that embracing energy efficient building practices was risky, unnecessary, and financially unsound, but not Veridian Homes.
They knew that they would be shaping the futures of the communities in which they build, for the better, by implementing high performance homes. This is just one of the reasons that Veridian Homes is a 2023 Focus on Energy Trade Ally Energy Efficiency Excellence Award Recipient.
“We have really embraced, for many years now, the Focus on Energy program. For us, it has become, really, a way of life,” David Simon, President & Owner of Veridian Homes said during the award presentation.
David Simon took a chance by implementing energy efficient building practices 24 years ago, and it paid off. Veridian Homes has grown into Wisconsin’s leading homebuilder.
“Today, you can see what that has done in terms of embedding this into realizing, enriching the lives of our consumers in a very easy way,” Simon said. “Healthier homes, energy efficient homes, but ultimately, really impacting our environment in a positive way as well.”
Veridian Homes constructs 25% of the homes annually that are Certified Focus on Energy New Homes.
“Part of my job, and obviously Focus on Energy, is to transform the marketplace,” Andy Kutz, Focus on Energy New Home Program Manager said. “In order to do that, someone's got to lead the way.”
In 1999, the State of Wisconsin tested an energy efficiency pilot program called “Focus on Energy.” Veridian Homes didn’t hesitate to become one of the first Trade Ally Contractors.
“It did expand and really push our specifications, our standards, our industry outside of our comfort zone,” explained Simon.
And he began creating communities where some homeowners were paying less for electricity, getting year-round comfort and their neighbors had no idea or didn’t believe it. The hardest part is making sure consumers get the right information about new, energy-efficient technologies. Right now, there is a lot of confusion about heat pump water heaters. Veridian Homes decided in 2021 to do what it has done for more than two decades, test the technology.
“There's so much misinformation out there in the marketplace,” said Kutz. “I give Veridian a lot of credit because they did their own due diligence. They put a heat pump water heater in one of their standard homes. The other home had a natural gas power vented water heater. They ran tests to convince and dispel some of the other information.”
Focus on Energy saw heat pump water heater rebate requests jump from 10% in 2021 to 40% in 2022 after Veridian Homes adopted yet another new technology.
“We are really celebrating this year's winners for really focusing on this,” Lt. Governor Sara Rodriguez said when awarding Simon the Trade Ally Energy Efficiency Excellence Award. “They support technology, innovation, job creation, and those lowered environmental impacts.”
In eight years, Veridian Homes built more than 3,700. The combined kilowatt-hours and therms saved is enough energy to power more than 36,000 homes in Wisconsin.
“Every Wisconsinite deserves to live in a home that meets their needs and to live in a community that functions with their best interest in mind,” 77th Assembly District Representative Sheila Stubbs Said. “Veridian Homes knows how critical it is to build highly sustainable communities for every resident.”
It is this kind of focus on the future Wisconsin utilities imagined when helping create and partner with Focus on Energy.
“One of our goals at MG & E is to empower customers to take control of their energy use,” Erin Monroe-Nye, Madison Gas & Electric Energy Services and Policy Manager said. “Energy efficiency is one of their key strategies to achieving our shared energy goals.”
“Thank you very much for this award and really for our team for making this, what we do every day, making building easy,” said Simon. “And making building energy efficient homes easy for our consumers. Thank you.”