Up for national award
By Mechele Cooper, staff writer
VASSALBORO — Tom Fullam felt he had as much of a chance of winning a national award for his energy-efficient home as the next guy.
The local builder is a finalist in the EnergyValue Housing Awards, sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center, the U.S. Department of Energy/Building America Program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
EnergyValue Housing Awards honors builders who elevate the standards for high-performance homes by voluntarily incorporating energy efficiency into all aspects of new construction.
Fullam, 61, said he built his home for less than $200,000.
On the corner of Mudget Hill Road and Stone Road off Route 3, his home is equipped with a solar hot-water system that he said provides 98 percent of the domestic hot water and 80 percent of the radiant heat.
He said his annual utility bill is $800. Solar-heated water for heat is stored in an 120-gallon tank. If that isn’t enough, he said, there’s an electric element in the tank that will heat the house.
The “green building” was on display last year during the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association’s 2009 Green Buildings Open House.
“I looked at all the houses that won last year,” Fullam said Wednesday. “There’s the (Home Energy Ratings) that’s a national rating and the average rating for all those homes was 41. The lower the rating, the better. And mine is 38.
“I thought I had a good chance, so I figure I’d enter it and see what happens.”>/p>
Debra Sagan, program coordinator for the National Association of Home Builders Research Center, said winners are selected from three climate regions — cold, moderate and hot — and in five categories: “affordable, custom, factory-built, production and multifamily.”>/p>
She said winners will be announced and honored at the EVHA banquet Jan. 12-15, 2011, in Orlando, Fla.
“We have a very ordinary-looking but extremely efficient home designed for regular people,” Fullam said. “We just had a photo shoot of the house for their magazine, which is coming out in January for the awards ceremony.”>/p>
Fullam said he will be teaching a three-night class at Messalonskee High School this spring for people who want to build efficient, affordable homes.
Currently, he is helping out with a new program at the Capital Area Technical Center.
“The students there build a house every year with Kennbec Valley Community Action Program,” he said. “This year, they’ll be out wiring that house in January, and my end of this is to bring in some alternative options to help improve the performance of the home they’re building.”>/p>
For more information about the EnergyValue Housing Award visit www.nahbrc.org/evha