The Greenest House in Ohio

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There’s a new house at 258 N. 21st street in the King-Lincoln district of Columbus. The home will reduce waste sent to landfills, be healthier and safer for the occupants and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. It looks like an ordinary home, but it’s not. It’s an energy efficient house.

“The houses don’t have to look any different to be green. They don’t have to be that much more expensive.” That was Roger Beck. He headed up the team to build the house. Beck is a technology teacher in suburban Columbus. It was his idea to not just build the house, but to build one that saves energy and is environmentally friendly. This house produces more energy than it uses and it exceeds the government’s standards for being green.

Some people think that it’s costly to build a green home, but Beck had affordability in mind from the start. “When we originally talked w/Columbus Housing Partnership, they were a little concerned that it would be a really high tech home and what I told them at our very first meeting is that the energy efficiency and durability and comfort features that we would build into this home, they would be hard wired in, so they wouldn’t be dependent on humans doing things and there were things that wouldn’t break. They’re just in the home as the home was built.”

The house includes a laundry list of energy saving features for both heat. Beck explains the heat and power. “This large water tank is a solar thermal tank …we have two kilowatts of solar photovoltiacs on there and they’re producing energy as we speak. And today, very sunny day, we’ve produced almost 11 kilowatts. And so that’s, anything that we don’t use we’re actually sending back to the power company.”

Beck speaks passionately about the house and its ability to do what it was designed to do. He insists that energy efficient homes are affordable. If this house were on the market, it could a $200-thousand dollars price tag, but it’s not for sale. The house is a showcase for what building a green home can be.

The home is the first platinum certified leadership in energy and environmental design home in Ohio and that’s a big deal says Beck, “If you figure of all the builders in the state of Ohio, no one, no one has done this. This house actually uses, um 73-percent less energy than the house or apartment or condo whatever you’re living in. 73-percent and that’s just amazing.”

The house was a collaboration between Columbus Housing Partnership, the City of Columbus and a foundation that consisted of a group of high school students. Josh Lloyd helped design the home. He’s pleased that the house looks like an average home. “I guess some of the things besides the photovoltaic, the solar, the renewable energy stuff outside and the metal roof, most people would come to this house and be wondering, would wonder what’s green about it, you know cuz, a lot, a lot of it is not sexy stuff. It’s the stuff that hidden between the walls.”

Lloyd mentions the photovoltaic solar panels which provide the electricity for the home. That along with the solar thermal system, providing the heat, were nearly the priciest projects on the house – 6-thousand dollars before tax incentives and rebates which brought the cost down to slightly over 3-thousand dollars. The landscaping was about 10-thousand dollars.

Beck and his team will proudly show you and tell you about the house and how it came to be a one-of-a-kind in Ohio. But they’re also hoping others will see the possibilities and affordability of energy efficient homes.

Beck says, “Doesn’t have to be expensive to be green. You just have to be smart to be green.”

Kim Fox, WOSU News.

For more information: The Greenest House in Ohio