PASCO -- Home builder Jonathan Jones thinks it's possible to build an energy-efficient house and not break your piggy bank doing it.
"It's always about money or saving money," Jones said. "Why pay utility bills if you don't have to?"
His dream has become a reality. He recently completed such a house in the Shaundee Estates development in west Pasco.
The three-bedroom, two-bath house is for sale for $295,000. Jones said similarly-sized homes -- 2,146 square feet -- without as many energy-efficient features typically sell for about $270,000.
Jones became interested in building an energy-efficient home while working as an appraiser and real estate agent for S.L. Nuxall Real Estate Services.
Broker Stan Nuxall Jr., who owns the business, also has had a longtime interest in the concept, having taken part in local real estate developments that incorporated energy-efficient elements.
"It's kind of been a hobby. It's kind of a passion," Jones said.
He put about 18 months of research into practice on the home, which features a 4.4-kilowatt solar system. It includes an array of solar roof panels, but isn't big enough to power the whole house.
Still, Jones estimates it's big enough to generate 50 percent of the power the homeowners will yearly consume.
On sunny days, the system can generate enough power that the homeowners can sell power back to the Franklin PUD, reducing their electricity costs.
Jones also has insulated the home with open cell foam. Sprayed in as a thick paste, it expands to fill the cavity between the walls. After the foam solidifies, any excess is shaved off flush with the wall studs.
Because the material expands, it provides a higher degree of insulation than more traditional forms of insulation, Jones said.
Jones also installed a heat pump hot water heater. He said the unit is expected to operate 62 percent more efficiently than a traditional hot water heater.
The west Pasco home also includes what's known as passive energy-efficient features. For example, an eave hangs over two sides of the home.
In the summer months, when the sun is higher, the eave will block sunlight and heat from entering.
"It's a fantastic house," said Renee Dahlgren, who administers the Built Green Tri-Cities and Walla Walla program for the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities.
Through the program, homes can be certified as Built Green if builders use any of a variety of energy-efficient techniques and materials. Jones' home has been certified.
"(Jones) is offering a very green house with lots of green features," Dahlgren said. "He's definitely offering a lot of things, like the solar panels, that we don't see as often."
Overall, Jones said it's more typical that homeowners who want energy-efficient homes to have them custom-built.
Jones, on the other hand, has built the west Pasco home without having a buyer prearranged.
"It's an opportunity for a home buyer to purchase a house that already has all the energy-efficient traits built into it without having to plan it themselves," he said.
"I'm trying to step it up a notch," he said with a grin.
To find out more about the home at 6008 Stutz Lane, go to www.efficientevolution.com.
* Kathy Korengel: 509-582-1541; email@example.com