Home builders

Local homebuilders are taking different approaches to sustainability

As electricity and natural gas prices to get upconsumers are increasingly asking how to make their homes more energy efficient.

Donald Stockell, Vice President of Stockell Custom Homes, estimates that 80% of its customers inquire about the company’s focus on building high-performance homes. Over the past few years, they have built four homes certified to some of the most rigorous standards available, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star and Indoor airPLUS programs. Stockell says they strive to build “net zero” homes, meaning homes that rely on solar power and other methods to produce as much energy as they consume.

“People realize the importance of trying to offset their energy [usage] with solar panels or other means,” says Stockell. “Battery technology is essential. With the new Tesla batteries, energy from solar panels can now be stored for use at night. Battery technology continues to improve every year.

Solar panels – which typically start at $25,000 and go up from there – geothermal systems, energy recovery ventilators and improved insulation are all offered by Stockell Custom Homes. In order to reduce shipping costs, the company is committed to purchasing local materials when possible.

When Jeremiah and Kristy DeGuire built their Eureka home in 2015, they chose Stockell Custom Homes because of its focus on sustainability. Kristy DeGuire, President of DG2 Design Landscape Architecture, worked with the company to position his home so that it was shaded in the summer and full sun in the winter months. The house was built with improved insulation and windows, and now the couple are installing solar panels.

“One of our priorities throughout life is to reduce our footprint and help mother nature rather than cause harm,” says Kristy DeGuire. “It comes at an extra cost at first, but for us it was worth it. And now, speaking with neighbors and friends of ours with similar sized homes, the cost is quickly recouped with rising energy costs.

But not everyone is interested or able to afford a custom house with solar panels and the best certifications. For customers who want a subdivision living in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, Fischer & Frichtel incorporates smaller upgrades that have a big impact, including Energy Star appliances, low flow water faucets, higher insulation, more efficient heating and cooling systems, air ventilation systems coolers, LED lighting and smart technology like smart thermostats.

“Our goal is to use durable materials and flashing details that reduce maintenance costs and make our homes stronger,” says Chris DeGuentz, vice president of development and construction for Fischer & Frichtel. “It comes down to the consumer. What do they see the most value in? »

The builder’s commitment to sustainability is exemplified by its partnership with LEDR Recycling, which sorts construction waste on all Fischer & Frichtel construction and eliminates wood, cardboard, drywall, brick, concrete , plastic and any other material that can be recycled. According to DeGuentz, LEDR Recycling recycles about two-thirds of the waste produced when building a new home, which in the United States typically amounts to about six tons per home. Although this can be expensive for Fischer & Frichtel, they know it’s the right thing to do for the environment.

“We don’t call ourselves a green builder. We distinguish ourselves as using quality, common-sense building practices in the design of our homes and their construction,” DeGuentz says, adding that some building practices labeled “green” result in high costs and little return on investment.

Instead, he says, “we look at what makes the house more comfortable, what lowers its operating costs, and what makes it healthier by the way we build it.”