You want to build green but aren’t sure what products are best to use during construction. Countless resources from around the industry promise to deliver the right aggregate of information to help builders and remodeling companies make the most informed decisions about building green, but now some new software created by MIT technologists promises even better insight into the process.
Called HomeSEED from the company Ekotrope, www.ekotrope.com, Cambridge, Mass., this program helps builders and architects gather green and cost effective options for their projects. The program collects a range of construction options to find the best combination of components that fit a builder’s goals for the project, including energy and cost.
Available as an entry-level solution, HomeSEED Estimator, or an advanced version, HomeSEED Analyst, the product offers a practical way to gather green and business intelligence for new construction projects and renovations. By using an energy and cost optimization engine, the product aggregates a range of construction options and building components to help building teams find the most efficient options that both fit their energy objectives and stay within budget. The intelligence built into the software also analyzes trade-offs that can be made to determine the financial impacts from such modifications.
The entry-level solution costs $399 for an annual license and provides estimated energy use, cost, emissions, and compliance for home design. It also conducts cost-benefit analysis for component upgrades for new homes.
The company uses an example of recent homebuyers that were concerned about long-term energy costs, but also needed to ensure their costs for the home stayed within a certain range. The architect had developed a design that met the capped annual mortgage that the client was seeking. However, the design was just at the minimum energy code requirements. According to Ekotrope, the software was able to intelligently look for “sweet spots” where any additional investment in energy-efficient solutions would be offset immediately by the energy savings.
The company said this new design significantly reduced the risks of energy price escalation while staying within the predetermined budget of the homebuyers. Even more, the expected energy savings exceeded the increased mortgage costs, offering an annual saving of more than $550.
The HomeSEED product was developed by MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics professor Ed Crawley who struggled with finding a green and cost-effective solution to calculate the right components while trying to build his own energy-efficient home.
The company considers such a system to be a decision-support tool to help guide architects, builders, and even clients to make rational decisions on energy systems in a timely and visual manner.