LESLIE: Bob in Tennessee has some questions about energy efficiency. What can we help you with?
BOB: Yes. My wife and I are going to scale down. The kids have left the nest now and…
LESLIE: (chuckling) Freedom, whoo!
BOB: Yeah, right. Got grandkids coming though. But I’ve been trying to figure out where I can find information to build an energy-efficient home for our area because, you know, in the future I feel like energy is going to be our biggest cost in a home and we just want to be comfortable as we grow older and have a good, warm home.
TOM: Well, Bob, it’s a big question and the best way to narrow it down is probably to start with a really good website and that is the Energy Star website.
TOM: EnergyStar.gov. And you can find out what it takes to build an Energy Star-rated home there. There are programs that will help you or the builders in your area do just that. In terms…
LESLIE: And it breaks it down region by region so you really understand what is a beneficial build in your area over another area, so you’re not doing something that’s not going to help you where you live in Tennessee.
TOM: I’ll also recommend…
TOM: … a specific type of building technology called insulated concrete forms or ICFs. Basically, instead of using a wood-frame wall, what these walls are – they’re stacked-up hollow, foam blocks. They kind of look like big LEGO blocks.
TOM: And the walls are stacked up and then the inside of it is there’s poured concrete…
LESLIE: Poured concrete.
TOM: … and rebar put inside of it and when the home is done, it uses two-thirds the amount of energy of a standard home and it’s also very quiet and completely storm-resistant. I really like that technology and it doesn’t have to look like a concrete house. It can look wood-sided or whatever way you want it to look.
BOB: Well, I appreciate it. I’ll check it out.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.