Environment

Affordable Green Homes Focus of Renewable Energy Conference Today

Utahns who think they can’t afford an energy-efficient home should think again. That’s one of the main themes of this year’s Utah Renewable Energy Conference today at the Salt Palace. Levi Belnap with the Utah Solar Energy Association says he’s committed to making renewable and cleaner energy available to everyone, because he knows people are on a budget.

(KCPW News) Utahns who think they can’t afford an energy-efficient home should think again. That’s one of the main themes of this year’s Utah Renewable Energy Conference today at the Salt Palace. Levi Belnap with the Utah Solar Energy Association says he’s committed to making renewable and cleaner energy available to everyone, because he knows people are on a budget.

“It really is about control. I don’t want to suddenly have my power rates jump 100 percent next month,” says Belnap. “I live on a fixed income; if my electric bill doubles next year that has to come from somewhere. My whole kind of goal here is, I need to keep my fixed costs down, and energy is one of those big things.”

Garbett Homes, based in Utah, will be at the conference showcasing its energy efficient, green homes that are priced for first time home-buyers in the $160,000 to $200,000 range.

Rene Oehlerking with Garbett Homes says his company began building solar-powered, energy-friendly homes in 2009, and since then has built 45 along the Wasatch Front, along with several other Western states and Mexico.

“Everybody wants to go green, everyone wants to be green, but nobody wants to pay to be green. Everyone wants a Prius for the same price as a Corolla,” explains Oehlerking. “So we wanted to figure out how we could actually, in the residential construction industry, how we could deliver a Prius for the same price as aof Corolla, because our main target audience are first time home buyers.”

Today’s conference is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. There will be workshops and speakers throughout the day, including Governor Gary Herbert and Wendolyn Holland with the U.S. Department of Energy.

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