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Zero Energy Homes From The Ground Up

by Leigh Cooper & Photos Provided by High Performance Homes

High Performance Homes bring a holistic approach to energy efficient residences, and combine it with floor plans homeowners can call their own.

A few miles from historic Gettysburg, Pa., where Abraham Lincoln gave his famously short speech to mark the end of the Civil War, lies The Links at Gettysburg. Quiet, pastoral, and framed by South Mountain’s gentle rolling hills, The Links at Gettysburg is home to a challenging golf course as well as a beautiful housing community that is as green as the surrounding links.

HP Homes President Kiere DeGranchampYou might not expect all this serenity to be the place to go for cutting-edge technology and industry-leading housing innovation, but it is. That’s because The Links is one of the primary building sites for High Performance Homes, a company that won a Department of Energy 2015 Housing Innovation Award. How do you win an award like that, you ask? Only by designing a home so energy-efficient and self-sustaining that it’s capable of creating as much energy as it uses. Bottom line: These homes can, and do, cost their owners as little as nothing in energy bills each month. In addition to this location, High Performance Homes is expanding its reach into Maryland where the same top-to-bottom design options combine with all of the health and energy perks that the company is building its reputation on.

HM got a chance to talk about High Performance Homes, or HP Homes as they call them, with its President Kiere DeGranchamp.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the technology in these HP Homes?

A: “The inspiration for high performance homes technology was born out of a desire to drive housing innovation — to reimagine what a home can be and revolutionize quality standards. Until high performance home technologies were developed, home building had not really changed much from the stagnant model of the past 100 years or so.

“In a nutshell, our approach is to combine heirloom-quality craftsmanship with the best in home building technologies. It’s a whole house approach. Not only to make the homes more energy-efficient, but also to include an array of technologies for better living overall. Our technology package includes geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, smart home monitoring and management technologies, air-quality systems that vastly improve the air people breathe in their homes, [and] building envelopes made with structurally insulated panels (SIPs) that create exceptional strength and durability against weather.

“I’m driven to build this way because I believe it’s the right thing to do for the world and it’s what’s best for the consumer. Who doesn’t want to save money, keep their families healthier, safer, and more comfortable?”

Q: What are some of the advantages of owning one?

A: “Our homes are the overall value winner. The advanced levels of energy savings, comfort, health, durability, and quality are the major benefits of high performance homes. Affordability is a big one. Many people think these homes are more expensive, which may have been true ten or even five years ago, but when you look a the true cost of ownership, they are actually less expensive.

Another benefit that is very important for our homebuyers (especially those with allergies or other respiratory issues) is the vastly improved indoor air quality. “

Q: Is it really possible to have a negative electricity bill?

A: “We have home-owner electric bills that show less than a dollar a month and even credits toward future overages. That happens when the home produces more energy than it uses.”

Q: Where do prices start? What are some of the features?

A:“Our home prices start in the $420s. Our production floorplans at The Links include luxury exterior and interior features including:

Exterior

  • Included French Country Stone Front
  • French Country Design Garage Doors
  • Exterior Lighting Package
  • Architectural Shingles and Dow Solar Technologies

Interiors

  • 6lb Carpet Pad and   Laramie Royale Collection Carpet in All Bedrooms
  • Shaw 3 ¼” Wide Danner Hardwood in Kitchen, Foyer, Dining, Living, and Family Room per plan
  • Level 1 Granite in Kitchen and Master Bath
  • Stainless Steel Appliance Package in Kitchen
  • Moen Faucet and Seagull Light Packages

(It is worth noting that the price Kiere gave for HP Homes is specifically for the homes at The Links at Gettysburg. Build options on private land can start as low as $280,000 depending on design and amenities chosen by the homeowner.)

Q: Where are all the locations? Are they currently only available in already-planned subdivisions or can homeowners purchase plans and have homes built on their own land?

A: “High Performance Homes is currently available to build homes in Pennsylvania and Maryland, with plans to expand into Virginia. Providing homebuyers flexible options and personalized support in planning to build their new home is a big reason why homebuyers choose to work with us. We can work with homebuyers who are interested in working with our existing production floorplans either at the Links at Gettysburg or on their own land. We are currently building three customs (in Maryland): two in Finksburg and one in Reisterstown. Buyers can choose from existing floor plans, semi-custom options, or fully custom homes. The custom homes are a big sweet spot for us because we find many homeowners have a very specific vision.”

If you’re interested in having an HP Home of your own, you can contact them at 717.359.4663, or visit online at www.hphpa.com.