News : Betting on extreme efficiency

Nov 6, 2012

From Portland Press Herald

WELLS - Buyers these days expect hardwood floors, granite counters and oversized windows in an architecturally designed house, and the model home in the new Brackett Estates subdivision doesn't disappoint.

The space is bright and beautiful. But beyond the amenities, the house is so energy-efficient, it will be able to produce more energy than it consumes over the course of a year.

Do mainstream buyers want that energy independence? How much extra will they spend to get it? And is there enough demand in southern Maine for zero-energy homes, as they're called, to build 26 of them in a stylish subdivision?

Those will be the key questions today at an open house for what's being called Maine's first net-zero ready community.

Brackett Estates is the culmination of the vision of two well-regarded builders in York County, a green-leaning Portland architect and a manufactured-housing innovator in the Oxford Hills. In an era of volatile oil prices, the developers are gambling that the local market is ready for a suburban community of zero-energy homes.

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