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2021 Homes of Tomorrow Today Tour: Reduce utility bills with rebates, remodeling ideas, and more

2021 Homes of Tomorrow Today Tour: Reduce utility bills with rebates, remodeling ideas, and more

The home of the future may be difficult to imagine, but one thing is certain: It will be energy efficient.

In many ways, the future has already arrived, as evidenced by improved smart thermostats, solar panels, and electric car charging stations. Kitchens are equipped with an induction cooktop, and the temperature of the entire house can be maintained year-round thanks to cost-saving heat pumps.

According to Rachel Trice of the Home Builders Association of Metro Portland, Portland area builders have been leading the national effort to create high-performance, sustainable homes that offer ease of habitation and low utility bills.

Remodelers aiming to reduce home costs while also respecting the planet arent retrofitting existing buildings; they are making them future fitted.

People interested in learning more about energy-saving building techniques and materials can visit eight exemplar dwellings in the Portland area during the Homes of Tomorrow Today Tour Friday through Sunday, Oct. 15-17.

The HBA event, which is co-sponsored by Portland General Electric (PGE) and Energy Trust of Oregonlets ticket holders ($25), asks builders and suppliers about how to improve a home, from replacing an inefficient water heater to installing alternative energy sources that can be used during power outages.

A sealed building envelope with controlled ventilation keeps smoke and other pollutants out, reduces allergens and the risk of mold, and prevents heated and cool air from escaping.

A home with double-pane windows and extra insulation in the attic, walls, and floors reduces outside noise.

These processes, which employ sustainable building materials and finishes that create less waste, are more efficient than the Oregon building code, one of the most stringent in the nation, according to Trice.

Theres been a lot of progress in the last ten years, she added. There are a slew of rebates, product discounts, and incentives. [Going green] is not as expensive as you might imagine.

The eight new homes on the self-paced, self driving tour range from converted cargo-container structures by Relevant Buildings in Oregon City to single-family residences from Happy Valley to Hillsboro.

Each home has an Energy Trust of Oregon energy performance score (EPS). Mike Frey of Noyes Development Co. stated, "They produce as much energy as they consume each year."

Noyes Developments homes in Creekview Ridge, a 65-home community off Northwest Laidlaw Road, and the Highlands at North Bethany, an 155-acre community, will be on the tour.

Earth Advantage, a Portland-based nonprofit that promotes sustainable, high-quality construction, gave the new structures, which are designed to be extremely comfortable and last 100 years.

The Energy Star-certified homes also meet strict energy performance standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The dwellings emit less greenhouse gases than typical buildings.

Not all homes are created equal and it is crucial for individuals to have opportunities to become more aware about their single largest investment in life and the place where they spend so much of their time, Frey, who chairs the HBAs Home Performance Council, said.

He stated he hopes more people will be able to make efficient, sustainable choices when considering a home purchase, remodel, or equipment upgrade.

High-performance homes built with superior craftsmanship are a way of creating for... putting up sane living for our growing community of friends and neighbors and dramatically reducing carbon footprints, he added.

A 2,067-square-foot Ichijo USA home on the tour is expected to have zero energy costs based on its energy performance score (EPS).

The well-insulated dwelling in the Happy Valley neighborhood of Pleasant Valley Villages has i-cube panelized construction invented by Ichijo USA, which is combined with weather barriers and rain screens, creating net-zero, energy-ready homes in Oregon and Washington.

The firm uses Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood from responsibly managed forests as well as energy smart lighting, fireplaces, refrigerators and dishwashers.

During the Homes of Tomorrow Today Tour, vendors such as Marvin windows and Pyramid Heating + Cooling of Portland will be available to answer questions.

On display during the tour are electric lawn mowers and leaf blowers with zero emissions that can replace gas lawn equipment.

Tickets for the Homes of Tomorrow Today Tour are only available online at homesoftomorrowpdx.com/p/tickets. Between Friday, Oct. 15 and Sunday, October 17, one person may purchase a $25 individual ticket for one entry into all of the homes. The $25 ticket is valid for ONE person to enter all homes in one day.

Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072 | 513-293-4071 | Jane Eastmann |

@jeastman@oregonian.com | @janeteastman @JanetEastman

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