As reported in Lehigh Valley Business Sept 30, 2013, One green builder is jetting off to California early next month to be a judge of cutting edge energy-efficient homes at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.
Brian Baker, co-owner and director of marketing and design at Studio26 Homes and Renu Building & Energy Solutions in Orefield, was selected to judge at the biannual event which showcases futuristic green homes.
These prototype homes will have a host of special features such as rooftop gardens, reclaimed wood siding, cement panel rain screens, a charging station for an electric bicycle, solar wooden canopy and solar chimney and a living wall or vertical garden to grow food and produce.
“There was a process to get selected. I had to send my resume, and I was selected to review homes for market appeal, since there are different judging categories,” Baker said. “These homes are built by teams of 200 university students and then there are architects, engineers, manufacturers and businesses involved in the projects.
Baker runs the business with his father Jim Baker, who is president, and his brother Scott Baker, director of operations.
He estimates that someone custom-building a “green” home will spend 5 percent to 15 percent more than what a traditional home would cost. He said that customers want to consume less energy or improve the air quality in their home with the added benefit of reducing their energy bill.
“The customer will spend more, but the idea is that if they ever go to sell the house, it will have an increased value as a LEED-certified home,” Baker said.