Letter to the editor: Sustainable building works, and builders should get on board

Brian Syptak


I’m not surprised that builders are trying to delay the inevitable (“Summit County officials look to extend training on sustainable building codes as builders struggle to adapt to changes”). Same thing happened to us when we built in 2013-14. They just want to do things the way they’ve always done them, with zero concern for the homeowner’s significant long-term costs of energy inefficiency. Others told us what we planned wouldn’t work. It all works.

Instead, just by changing a few things, our energy costs are near zero: triple pane windows, over-insulating walls, ceilings with a combination of foam and blown insulation for increased R-value and air tightness, insulating under basement slab and around foundation walls, geothermal (ground source) heat (wells and heat pump), solar panels, no gas. None of that was required, but it all helped to lower running costs.

One problem I see in Summit construction is that form is desired over function. Both are possible with some basic forethought. Most new roofs are so intricate due to the mountain-style architecture that finding a spot for more than a panel or two next to one another is near impossible. We designed the back of our garage roof to face south and were able to place 30 solar panels there, which are not visible from the front of the house.

If I were to build another house (not in this lifetime!), I would do all of the above and more. It works.



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