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Building a Green New York

NORTH CREEK - Demonstrating their commitment to energy efficiency, the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), as part of the High Performance Residential Development Challenge selected four building science teams to build new homes that consume half the energy of a standard home built to the building code.

One of the teams is The Levy Partnership, Inc. (TLP), a specialist in the design and construction of high performance buildings. TLP is working with Stephens Construction of Saratoga Springs to design, build and test an ultra-energy efficient home in Hague. The home will demonstrate the high level of efficiency that can be achieved using affordable technologies.

The Challenge enabled Stephens to employ high performance, emerging building methods that maximize energy savings. Steve Haroth, President of Stephens, noted that the Challenge demonstrates their commitment to building homes with a minimal carbon footprint that are a hedge against future energy price hikes.

"Why build the old way when you can choose proven technology that returns your investment every single month for the entire life of your home?" says Haroth.

Compared to a home built to the state code, the Stephens design will reduce heating and cooling energy use by over 60%. Among the advanced technologies to be used in the home include structural insulated panel (SIP) walls that provide a continuous five-and-a-half inch layer of rigid insulation on all exterior walls, a ground source heat pump that pulls energy for heating and cooling from the earth surrounding the home, and a heat recovery ventilator that captures the heat from exhaust air and transfers it to incoming fresh air.

Jordan Dentz, TLP's Project Manager for the Challenge, notes that, "the NYSERDA Challenge serves as a much needed model for the state's homebuilders, a catalyst for moving residential construction in New York to a level of energy performance beyond Energy Star."

The Stephens home is one example of what's possible given technologies available today; it is a huge step toward energy independence and points the direction for where residential construction is headed in the years ahead.

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