In a down economy, Neal Ezell is counting on energy-efficient upgrades to empower sales of the homes he builds.
With new energy-efficiency efforts eligible for $10,200 in tax credits, and homeowners in line for saving as much as $1,900 a year on their energy bills, he figures that investing $15,000 into a new home’s energy upgrades never made so much sense.
Sure beats Wall Street.
“Do the math,” said Ezell, president of Ezell-Morgan Construction Inc., noting that the upfront expenses would be paid off in just over two years. “It’s a no-brainer.”
Ezell is among Lawrence builders anxious and excited to show off their work for the public this weekend and next during the Lawrence Homes Builders Association’s Spring Parade of Homes.
Despite — or perhaps because of — the ongoing economic downturn and real estate slump, this year’s parade includes more entrants than in recent memory. A total of 38 homes are open for public viewing, often with builders available to answer questions about their workmanship.
This year’s theme, “Everything Is Coming Up Green,” is designed to cover several trends in the building industry, said Bobbie Flory, the association’s executive director:
l Consumers are more interested than ever in both protecting the environment and saving money on their energy bills.
l Home builders are adhering to new energy-efficiency requirements as outlined in building codes approved last year.
l Builders themselves are becoming even more “green” savvy. Two association members — Kelly Drake, of Mallard Homes, and Tim Stultz, of Highland Construction — even have become certified green professionals, a National Association of Home Builders designation for those who incorporate green building principles into homes.
The green approach is building momentum, Flory said.
“It starts with lot design and ends with the consumer,” she said. “And it never ends.”