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U.S. Department of Energy’s Housing Innovation Award Recognizes Industry Leaders

Bellingham_SIPS-installation-640x336Photos courtesy of TC Legend Homes

Premier SIPs provides a highly insulated building envelope for this DOE Housing Innovation Award Winning project by TC Legend Homes.  At $144 per square foot, this zero energy home used 6-inch-thick SIP walls (R-26) with pre-finished fiber cement siding and house wrap, and 10-inch-thick SIP roof panels (R-42) with a metal standing seam roof.  Read more on the Housing Innovation Awards recognition of TC Legend Homes below and more project details through this DOE case study.

Originally written by Eric Thomas, TC Legend Homes

TC Legend Homes “Grand” Winner of Prestigious Housing Award

U.S. Department of Energy’s Housing Innovation Award recognizes industry leaders

Zero-Energy-logoThe Energy Department presented Housing Innovation Awards to 28 industry leaders from across the nation during the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance’s Excellence in Building Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.  The industry leaders are commercializing and deploying cutting-edge technologies and helping to significantly reduce the energy costs of the nation’s homes.

“The Housing Innovation Awards recognize forward-thinking contractors and builders for delivering extraordinary energy efficiency while ensuring superior comfort, health and durability in new and existing homes,” said Dr. David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Builder, TC Legend Homes, is a grand winner in the Affordable category for a custom home they built in Bellingham for homeowners Kristina and Mike Heintz.  The 1,055-ft2 home sports high-efficiency appliances, a balcony, a greenhouse, a patio, a loft, tongue-and-groove pine ceilings, and solar photovoltaic panels – all for $151,908 or $144 per square foot (not counting the land).

A 3.2-kW PV system is all it takes to power the home, thanks to a highly insulated building envelope and high-performance equipment, which helped earn the home a certification from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program.

“The Heintz house exemplifies what we want to do in our company.  This couple is about to retire.  They wanted an affordable home with zero energy bills and we were able to achieve that,” said Clifton.

The 38-year old started building when he was 14, working for his father Ted Clifton Sr. who designs and builds DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes on Whidbey Island in Washington.  Clifton said he’s been improving his understanding of energy-efficient construction ever since.  “I thought we were building the most energy-efficient house possible when I built my own home seven year ago.  But my first true net zero energy home in 2011 was a breakthrough in my understanding of real energy efficiency.”

Clifton is raising the bar further with his current project, a net-positive-energy home that produces enough solar electricity to power two electric cars.  The home is currently under construction in Bellingham with a projected price of just $110 per square foot.

Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Builders Challenge program has recognized hundreds of leading builders for their achievements in energy efficiency – resulting in millions of dollars in energy savings.  The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home – an ambitious successor to the Builders Challenge program – represents a whole new level of home performance, with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health, and durability on the path to zero energy ready homes.  A Zero Energy Ready Home is a high performance home that is so energy efficient that a renewable energy system can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption.

Bellingham_Ted-Clifton-Award-housePhotos courtesy of TC Legend Homes

DOE Challenge Home builders are in the top 1% of builders in the country meeting the extraordinary levels of excellence and quality specified by the U.S. Department of Energy. Every DOE Challenge Home starts with ENERGY STAR for Homes Version 3 for an energy-efficient home built on a solid foundation of building science research. Then, even more advanced technologies are designed in for a home that goes above and beyond current code to give the superior quality construction, HVAC, appliances, indoor air quality, safety, durability, comfort, and solar-ready components along with ultra-low or no utility bills. This provides homeowners with a quality home that will last for generations to come.

TC Legend Homes is a full-service custom home building and design firm based in Bellingham, WA, that crafts legendary homes to last for generations. Guided by the belief that everyone should be able to enjoy the comfort and savings of a highly efficient home, the company’s mission is to make positive-energy and net-zero energy building affordable. TC Legend has built more 100% solar-powered homes than any other builder in the area at a cost that is surprisingly affordable. TC Legend Homes is a pioneer of the positive-energy construction concept, building homes that not only produce enough renewable energy to eliminate heating and electrical bills but that can also power an electric car for thousands of miles per year.

To learn more about TC Legend Homes, visit  To learn more about DOE’s Housing Innovation Awards Program, visit  To learn more about Zero Energy Ready Home Program, visit


Eric Thomas

Phone: 646-260-3734



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