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Jim designed his new home in central Virginia with energy efficiency in mind.

It’s very high performing with spray-in foam insulation, high-end windows and doors, excellent heating and cooling systems, an intentionally designed southwest orientation, and large overhangs on the roof. “I’m very sympathetic to energy efficiency,” Jim said.

Another thing that brings Jim satisfaction is his wood stove. “I’m a very experienced wood burner,” Jim said. His wood stove is the primary source of heat in his new home (though he admits he could just as easily heat it with his mini-split heat pump, which is very efficient). Jim says that he has five different thermostats in his house.

HO spotlight Jim jim home

While his house was already very efficient, Jim was inspired to do more.

“I always had it in mind to put solar on a secondary building,” Jim said. “I love the idea of solar and wood: The old and the new.” He met Sigora Solar at a local co-op meeting and they offered an energy assessment of Jim’s house. “So, shortly after we moved in, I said, we’d love to have an audit!”

“Sigora Solar was very good … they knew their stuff,” Jim said. They advised him to put the solar panels on his house, not the secondary building. “Solar was a bit of a retrofit because the house had been designed already. We had three skylights in the roof, so we had to fit the solar around them.”

Jim Homeowner

With the panels, Jim said his system produces 105% of his electricity needs in winter months from solar power.

“We are energy free. Not just cost-wise but we are not using coal,” Jim said.

Jim received Pearl Silver certification for his home. However, as an energy efficiency enthusiast, Jim reached out to Pearl to inquire about additional specifications. “Casey Murphy, Pearl’s Vice President of Quality Systems, came out, got information from us about our models of appliances, window and door specifications, and more,” Jim said. “And we were solidly gold!”

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