Login or Register to download the PDF version of this article. (500.61 kB)
After working as a superintendent for a local contractor for five years, I started my own construction company — building custom presold homes and additions — in February 2004. Two years later, I decided to build my first spec house, on a lot I purchased at a municipal tax auction. Fuel prices were increasing and I wanted to explore practical ways to increase the energy efficiency of the homes I built; a spec house, I reasoned, would give me the freedom to try some new energy measures.
There was a further incentive: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 offered a $2,000 federal tax credit for any new home that used 50 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a "typical" new home. Since I had already been building Energy Star homes, I was eager to find strategies that would allow me to qualify.