Model homes and home tours provide the perfect opportunity to experience EPSTM first-hand. Step inside and see the many features that help EPS rated homes deliver, including healthy indoor air quality, durability, efficient performance and low energy costs. Whether you’re looking to buy or build, there’s no better way to get inspiration and a better understanding of what makes these energy-efficient homes special.
Talk to your real estate agent or builder about EPS—you can download our Smart Homebuyer Checklist to get the conversation started. And be sure to look for EPS in model homes and on home tours throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Central Oregon Builders Association Tour of Homes
Location: Bend area
Organizer: Central Oregon Builders Association
Date: July 14-16 and July 21-23
Bend Energy Challenge and Green Tour
Location: Bend area
Organizer: The Environmental Center
Date: September 30 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Trade ally since 2011
For Bill Hull, owner of W.H. Hull Company, building highly efficient homes is nothing new. He’s been doing it since the beginning of his career in the 1980s. But there are a few things that have come along during that time that have made his job easier, including Energy Trust’s EPS. In fact, he’s gotten so familiar with energy efficiency standards that his company built the best-scoring EPS house in Oregon in 2014, with a perfect score of zero.
It was most likely Hull’s father, who embraced the “waste-not, want-not” principles of his depression-era childhood, who first inspired Hull’s unique attitude towards building. Nothing was ever wasted in his house as child, and as a result he says “I think my whole building career has been about not wasting anything.”
Hull’s first step in keeping waste in check is to encourage homeowners to consider the benefits of a smaller house. He combines that with excellent insulation, a high-performance heating system, well-placed windows, a very tight building envelope and a large solar electric system to arrive at his formula for net-zero homes.
Adopting EPS was an equally straightforward concept for Hull. It offered a convenient way for him to illustrate the performance and livability of a house when working with designers and clients. “EPS is a great measure for how I’m doing,” Hull explains.
A lot of people in central Oregon have taken notice of what he’s doing. “I don’t really advertise; I don’t need to. Word of mouth has been really important in my business. [Homeowners] are really proud of what they’ve done: they’ve taken their house to the next step.”
Hull is enthusiastic about the potential for EPS, especially when it comes to creating a little healthy competition. He compares the future of EPS to bragging rights associated with gas mileage. Someday people will compare their home’s EPS in the same way. And of course if current trends at W.H. Hull Company continue, owners of Hull’s homes may very well have the best bragging rights in Oregon.
Street of Dreams
Location: Mitchell Park, Happy Valley
Organizer: Home Builder Association of Metro Portland
Date: July 29 – August 27
2017 ADU Tour
Date: September 9 – 10
Pacific Crossing III
Builder: Stone Bridge Homes NW
Location: Forest Grove, OR
Trade ally since 2008
Today, Renaissance Homes is recognized for their demonstrated commitment to green building practices and the pursuit of energy efficiency in their award-winning homes. The journey to becoming a top Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED®, builder and a major proponent of Energy Trust’s EPS began in the 1980s when “green building” meant little more than the exterior color of a structure.
Owner Randy Sebastian started his construction career building infill homes in the Portland metro area. But within a decade, he was ready to pursue what would turn out to be a winning idea: a truly well-built home incorporates energy efficiency into its design and function. A drive to keep improving on that concept led to the company’s turning point in the late nineties.
Adoption of LEED principles was one key step, and when Energy Trust introduced EPS in 2009, it was clear that the energy efficiency scoring system was another natural fit for Renaissance Homes. “The EPS is basically telling you exactly how energy efficient a house is. This isn’t a guess, it’s scientific,” Sebastian says.
Sebastian feels that as an early adopter of LEED and EPS, Renaissance Homes is on the cutting edge. He can also see that the clientele is catching up, and fast. “Now we have people asking about EPS. That’s huge. It’s like a walk score; people are really starting to get it.”
If you ask Sebastian how a builder can decide to pursue a path that may seem more rigorous and challenging at every step but still come out on top as a leader in the industry, he would tell you that it’s pretty simple. When you set higher standards, you just achieve more. For Renaissance, that achievement is built upon the realization Sebastian had when he started out: “If you build the perfect home, people will love what you do.”
Southern Oregon Tour of Homes
Location: Medford, Ashland
Organizer: Home Builders Association of Jackson County
Date: September 15-17 and September 22-24
Tour of Homes
Location: Salem area
Organizer: Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties
Date: June 17-25
Lane County Tour of Homes
Location: Eugene/Springfield area
Organizer: Home Builders Association of Lane County
Date: July 22-30
Legend at Sylvia
Builder: Legend Homes
Location: Corvallis, OR
Trade ally since 2009
Jim Chapman, president of Legend Homes, has a lot of confidence in just how accurately Energy Trust’s EPS can predict the energy efficiency of a home—and how much his customers will appreciate the difference. So much, in fact, that EPS is at the foundation of Legend’s unique EarthSmart home guarantee. For the first three years of ownership, Legend Homes guarantees that annual energy bills won’t exceed the EPS projected combined energy bills—regardless of occupant behavior.
Chapman’s confidence stems from a clear understanding of how building to EPS standards improves the energy use as well as the overall integrity and livability of a home. “EPS is a true measure of energy efficiency and the quality of construction execution. Both are crucial to the long-term success of the home and its occupants,” he explains. For Chapman, it comes down to a pretty straightforward idea: “A home with an EPS is a better built home than one without.”
All of Legend’s newly built homes achieve an EPS and as a result Chapman has noticed that clients “greatly appreciate the high level of quality and…are amazed at how much lower the energy bills are compared to their last home.”
Despite the demonstrated high performance of these homes, Chapman explains, “We have seen homeowners who turn the heat way down and wear coats, tape off supply vents, close perimeter rooms and try to just heat the core of the home. Not only is it uncomfortable but energy bills go up and damage can occur to mechanical equipment.” So instead of offering knitting lessons or tutorials on how to block nonexistent drafts from windows and doors, Chapman has another approach—encouraging homeowners to abandon unnecessary and extreme measures in pursuit of comfort and energy efficiency. Ultimately, he’s happy to “teach our clients how to comfortably live in their new home.” No mittens required.
Builder: B.D. Ables Inc. – Buildmaster™
Location: Hermiston, OR
Trade ally since 2012
B.D. Ables, Inc. – Buildmaster™ is a pioneer in northeastern Oregon as the first EPS builder in the region. Beyond making a mark on the local housing industry, BD Ables is also changing the way clients understand the benefits of an energy-efficient home. EPS plays a big part in that effort.
For owner Larry Ables, adopting the system was an easy decision: “We have used some of the EPS practices for years so it was a natural and easy transition to work with Energy Trust and their trade allies to meet the requirements.”
Along with showcasing his top-quality homes, EPS is a valuable tool that Ables uses to educate his clients on how energy-efficient homes work and the advantages they offer. It’s one of many Energy Trust resources Ables turns to in highlighting these benefits. “Marketing and education are vitally important [to selling homes]. The support we get from Energy Trust and its trade allies has helped immeasurably.”
BD Ables may be the only EPS builder in northeastern Oregon for now, but the company has established the potential for an important trend by demonstrating the livability of EPS homes, and it shows in the positive reaction of Ables’ clients. “We are a small community and we stay in contact with most clients, even if it’s a wave and a smile on the streets.”