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84 New Homes Will Use 'Earth Cents' Standards

Bobby Price Jr
Home builder Bobby Price plans to build his entire 84-home Jaxson Estates using tougher Earth Cents standards.

What’s in an Earth Cents Home?

» Minimum R-38 ceiling insulation, R-13 wall insulation

» Tightly sealed construction and cooling and heating ducts

» 13 EER (energy efficiency ratio) geothermal heating and cooling system or a 14 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) heat pump

» Water heating options, including solar thermal water heating system

» Double pane low-E (emissivity) windows

» Energy Star appliances

Pensacola home builder Bobby Price Jr. of Sweetwater Homes and Land is making a big wager on green homes. Price is building his entire 84-home Jaxson Estates using Gulf Power’s new Earth Cents standards. The program is a more-stringent evolution of the utility’s energy-saving Good Cents programs of the ’70s.

Earth Cents building standards can cut electric power bills by as much as 25%, Gulf Power spokesman Jeff Rogers says. The new code can reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by an average of 9,583 pounds per year per house, the equivalent of saving 10.1 barrels of oil, or 493 gallons of gasoline.

Evolving energy codes eventually will dictate that all new homes be built green, says Panama City builder Tom Ledman, a green building enthusiast who recently built the first Earth Cents home.

Price says the higher green standards will add $2,100 to the cost of homes in Jaxson Estates, which range from 1,200 to just over 1,600 square feet and are priced from the $130,000s to the $170,000s. A 25% savings on a $150 monthly utility bill would net the homeowner $450 per year, enough to pay for green construction in less than five years, says Jaxson Estates marketer Bernie Mostoller.