Students put the inner workings of their modern, energy-efficient house on display Monday with tours of the in-progress abode the Columbia Basin Student Homebuilder Program class has been constructing since August.
A steady stream of visitors to the student-led tour declared themselves impressed.
“People say, ‘I wish this was my house,’” student homebuilder Cody Boggs said in between answering questions about the master bedroom.
The three bedroom, two bathroom house known as Fieldstone #1 is located at 895 W Angus Court next to Armand Larive Middle School.
Energy Trust of Oregon predicts the house, when finished, will have an energy performance score of 72 on a scale of zero to 200, with zero being a house that doesn’t use any energy not produced by the house itself. Susan Badger-Jones, an outreach manager for Energy Trust of Oregon, said the average score for similarly-sized houses built in Oregon is 112.
“This house is considerably better,” she said.
The homebuilding class — which includes students from Hermiston, Umatilla and Stanfield — learned the latest techniques in energy efficiency, including a “flash and batt” insulation technique that lays down thick spray-on foam before installing fiberglass insulation.
“It just seals everything,” Badger-Jones said. “This house is not going to leak.”
Students also put in one of the area’s first “inside duct” systems for home’s heating and air conditioning. Traditionally, HVAC ducts run through attics or crawl spaces. In the summer those spaces get especially hot, warming up the cooled air being pushed through the ducts, and in the winter the opposite happens. The home students are building in Hermiston is one of the first in the area to bring the ducts inside the house where temperatures are more moderate.
Students are also incorporating energy efficient windows, lights, a tankless water heater and high-efficiency furnace.
Richard Hayden of Eastern Oregon Heating and Air helped the students install the energy-efficient duct system. He said he enjoyed being a mentor for the program.
“They picked things up quick,” he said. “For kids they’ve got a pretty good work ethic.”
He said he is interested in working on next year’s house if the district invites him back. Hayden said he appreciated that the homebuilding class gave students a chance to decide before leaving high school if any of the trades associated with homebuilding are for them.
“I think it’s a great program,” he said. “I think getting to know what you’re getting into helps.”
Hermiston High School sophomore Elizabeth Herrera said the class decided to have the open house before they put up the drywall so people could see the workmanship behind the scenes. The homebuilding program’s website has a live feed of the construction site, and Herrera said community members told the class they were disappointed when the students started working inside the house and they could no longer see what was going on.
“People say, ‘Oh yeah, I saw you guys putting up siding the other day,’” Herrera said.
She said knowing people could be watching the construction site at any time was good incentive to always wear her safety gear and not skimp on other safety procedures.
Contact Jade McDowell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4536.