Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Burns Harbor home is first in Indiana to win highest honor for energy efficiency

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The house Sarah Oudman built is 1,650 square feet and the estimated monthly NIPSCO bill for both gas and electric will be $50.

The home’s innovation, energy efficiency, and commitment to sustainable “green” building products and methods has been recognized by the National Association of Homebuilders with its highest certification for homes incorporating energy savings of 60 percent or more.

It’s the first such award in Indiana among only 22 certified homes nationwide. Speakers at a press conference Tuesday described the occasion and NAHB award as momentous, auspicious and big.

Oudman, president of Treasure Homes Inc., said she built the firm’s first-ever house at The Village in Burns Harbor subdivision because in 2009 The Village was awarded the nation’s first NAHB certification as a green development based on its planned 265 new-urbanism homes, their construction methods and the overall project’s preservation of natural resources.

John Kremke, vice-president of the Porter County Builders Association, said when The Village held the PCBA’s first single-site parade of green homes last year, Treasure Homes decided to raise the bar even higher. “Northwest Indiana is ahead of the nation in a lot of ways.”

Indiana Builders Association president Andy Place Sr. told the more than 50 guests assembled that it’s a lot of work for builders like Oudman to balance green needs, cost and keeping the home marketable. The Treasure Homes award-winning house with three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a full basement sells for $249,950.

Increasingly builders need to let consumers choose green-building methods to get those components more into the maintstream, added Place.

According to NAHB, options for such homes include more durable roof coverings, a well-insulated foundation, the use of recycled materials, passive solar design, pre-built components assembled off-site, correctly-sized heating/cooling systems, Energy Star appliances, low VOC carpeting and paint, and planning for water efficiency.

Michael Davis, team leader for new business at NIPSCO, said the utility is happy to help sponsor Energy Star homes and in some cases green technology can qualify for rebates.

Oudman thanked the Town of Burns Harbor for promoting a climate where homes have value. She also described The Village, developed by Cliff Fleming, as a special place and thanked the Save the Dunes Council for helping with the environmental standards needed for NAHB certification.

Duneland Chamber of Commerce executive director Heather Ennis said Northwest Indiana is putting itself on the map. “We should all be proud of ourselves, what we’ve accomplished and for people like Sarah leading the way.”

Oudman said building a “green” home --- figuratively and literally with its lime green siding --- is something she’d been considering for quite a while. “A house that makes sense, where families can live and grow, using energy efficiency to help pay the bills and have a positive impact for the future of their kids.”

1st District U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-Merrillville, commended Oudman for her vision to provide safe, affordable housing for families and at the same time increase the value of local communities. “It shows we can do things better in Northwest Indiana.”

Oudman said she didn’t consider the prospect of building an environmentally responsible home a daunting one, even in the current housing market. “When it’s time to dream you don’t worry about what will happen in the future.”


Posted 9/8/2010




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