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Home builder plans Star effort

Darin Carei, owner of Senergy Builders in Grand Junction, points out some of the features that go into constructing an Energy Star home, including foam insulation around the concrete pad. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)

Darin Carei draws a distinction between the home construction techniques required by building codes and the techniques required to meet Energy Star standards for energy efficiency.

“The code is the way we can build and Energy Star is the way we should build,” says Carei, owner of a Senergy Builders in Grand Junction.

Carei expects to build up to 50 single- and multi-family homes in Grand Junction a year and a total of another 12 to 20 homes a year in Montrose and Rangely. Every one of the homes will meet Energy Star standards, he says.

Energy Star homes are certified to offer at least 15 percent more energy efficiency than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC). Carei says his homes will offer

20 percent to 30 percent more efficiency, and perhaps even more. That results in a proportional savings to homebuyers in utility costs as well as the overall cost of home ownership, he says.

Carei expects the efficiency and comfort of Energy Star homes to differentiate his products in a slow housing market in the Grand Valley. But he also believes the entry level pricing of less than $180,00 will help. Moreover, there’s a growing demand among consumers for products deemed more environmentally friendly, he adds. “Today’s buyers can make that choice and make that statement.”

Carei brings to his latest venture 14 years of experience in home construction and development in Western Colorado. Carei recently joined in launching EnergyWise Companies, a Grand Junction firm that offers energy audits, Energy Star ratings and certifications and help with the purchase and sales of energy efficient homes.

Carei says it’s attention to small details that add up to big differences in energy efficiency in home construction, starting with foam insulation around the concrete pads. The outer walls of the homes Senergy Builders constructs uses 2- by 6-inch dimension framing on 24-inch centers to better accommodate insulation, he says. Additional insulation behind bathtub and shower enclosures also helps reinforce the barrier between interior and exterior temperatures. High-performance windows, efficient heating and cooling equipment and Energy Star-rated lighting and appliances all help to improve efficiency and bring costs down, he says.

Senergy Builders offers six different styles of single-family homes ranging from 1,250 to 1,600 square feet. Different elevations on the exteriors of the homes offer a “multitude of looks,” Carei says. But the common denominator remains Energy Star certification, meaning the home exceeds quantifiable and verifiable standards for energy efficiency.


Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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