She just turned 62 (she's gonna kill me for telling that) and she will be retiring within the next few months. Then she went on to tell me that had she not built this house she would not have been able to retire at this age. She stated that she is saving $550 a month living in her new home, even with having to pay a little more in property taxes. I'm not sure how she did the math but it was nice to hear. In another month or so she will have been in the house for 2 full years and we will once again compare the annual energy costs to make sure the house is meeting expectations. Early on, back in 2008 when I was first getting ready to build this house I estimated the annual heating costs of the house to be less than $700 and the total energy cost to be about $1,500. Last winter the cost to heat this home came in at $341 for the entire winter, far exceeding expectations. The total energy cost for the house over the entire year was $1,786 about $286 higher than expected, so we sat down and tried to figure out were the extra energy was being used. We made some adjustments to the cooling system that helped the system perform more efficiently, we adjusted the setting on the whole house dehumidifier and we made recommendations about habits that could reduce energy costs. We will see in another month how well those adjustments worked and if we have met the goal of $1,500 annual energy costs. Next we will be installing a solar hot water system that should reduce the energy costs even further, ( she currently has an electric hot water heater)
Tracking the energy costs for this house has been pretty simple, it's all electric. No oil, gas or wood, no fossil fuels being burnt in the house and the ability to convert to solar electric, should she choose to do so. That will be the next step to fulfilling the goal I had when designing this house, a true zero energy home, right here in New England that costs less than $175 sq/ft to build.