Students build energy star home to bring down utility billsSubmitted: 06/07/2014

Karolina Buczek

RHINELANDER - Attention to small details will help two families save some money on their utility bills. Rhinelander High School students in the Building Trades Program built an energy star duplex.

"There are about ten percent of homes north of Highway 29 that can say they have that label," said building instructor, Russ Germain. "I think it only makes sense if we're in the education business to educate possible future builders and homeowners."

An energy star home has most of its small cracks sealed up tightly to stop heat from escaping.

"In a normal energy star house, there's 500 CFM units of leakage. In our house, there's only 240 and 220 so we're 45 percent better than a normal energy star house," said Rhinelander High School senior Logan Rudis.

The program uses more expensive products to make sure the house conserves energy.

"We use different products," said Germain. "We spend more money on things that will essentially make the house tighter while providing good ventilation so it's a healthy home as well."

Getting the energy star certification wasn't easy. The students had to build the entire house differently than normal.

"We frame differently. We insulate differently. When it comes to air sealing, we try to do a really good job of eliminating leaks," said Germain.

The students used a unique framing technique.

"We wanted to try to frame so that it's a good, strong, safe home but we're not wasting a lot of material. We're actually adding more insulation to our walls so ultimately the customer is going to benefit," said Germain.

The duplex is finally done and will be available for rent sometime in July.

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