Milwaukee, Wis. – A long-time FOCUS ON ENERGY® Trade Ally Builder added to its history of energy efficiency with an impressive list of New Homes Certifications earlier this year.
As a builder partner with Focus on Energy for more than 15 years, Tim O’Brien Homes continues to demonstrate its dedication to reduced energy use in homes. Ever since the company’s establishment in 2007, the Builder has held firm in its belief that all homeowners should be able to afford an energy-efficient, certified green home.
“We test every home [we build] and have done so since 2007,” said Tim O’Brien, the owner of Tim O’Brien Homes. “We find this strategy extremely valuable because every home is unique, and we find opportunities for improvement that we would never find from not testing or only testing a sample of homes in a year.”
The builder has certified 112 new homes so far in 2020, adding to its grand total of 1,223 certified homes since early 2014. During its early operations, homeowners raised concerns about home comfort. To address the issue, Tim O’Brien Homes collaborated with its Building Performance Consultant and HVAC trade partner to create a centralized return air system that would reduce air infiltration and improve thermal performance of exterior wall systems. This gave the Building Performance Consultant the ability to balance the system at its final testing stage and resolved any apprehensions about comfort. Now, the company implements this practice in every home it builds and has seen a steady increase in the percentage of homes performing better than energy code.
“Tim O’Brien Homes…is arguably one of the most progressive [Focus on Energy builder partners] among the current participating builders,” said Andy Kuc, Program Manager for the Focus on Energy Residential New Construction offering.
Tim O’Brien Homes’ commitment to energy efficiency throughout all of its homes since day one sets it apart from other builders in Wisconsin. “We wanted to be the first builder in Milwaukee to offer [New Homes certifications] to home buyers and focus on making these homes more of the norm rather than the exception,” said O’Brien.
In 2019, Focus on Energy provided financial incentives of $183,700 to Tim O’Brien Homes to offset the initial cost of the projects. Estimated energy savings from the more efficient homes totals around 209,487 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity and 55,459 therms of natural gas in just the first year, which is enough to provide energy to 50 homes for an entire year.
Tim O’Brien Homes plans to continue working with Focus on Energy as it builds more energy-efficient homes in the Madison and Milwaukee areas.
“It has been a wonderful learning opportunity for our team and as benefited both the comfort of our homeowners as well as their pocketbook!” O’Brien said. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve the return on investment for every home sold. We focus on educating our customers through the resources available to us through Focus on Energy.”
Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable resources program, partners with 107 utilities across the state to offer energy expertise and financial incentives to residents and businesses that choose to reduce energy waste. A third-party evaluation last year revealed Wisconsin runs the most cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation, in terms of energy savings per dollar spent. An evaluation released this year found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates $4.80 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs and reduced pollution.