Inspiration Home is Affordable Cottage for Energy-Conscious Washington State


Scott Bergford is a custom builder in Olympia, Washington, who is managing to keep his company afloat during the housing slump by building green, cottage-style homes that are affordable and use high-performance technologies and products. His Scott Homes are known to be “some of the most energy efficient houses in Washington State.”

The recently built 2,020-square-foot Inspiration Home is certified to Energy Star 3.0, EPA Indoor airPlus, and Built Green Level 5, and sold for $450,000.


Triple-pane windows that have a U-factor of 0.21 are from Vinyltek and cost about one-fourth that of comparable German-made windows, which have a slightly lower U-value.

A  0.7 kilowatt solar thermal hot water system that cost about $7,000 consists of three panels that can be expanded to improve energy efficiency.

The heating and cooling system is a Mitsubishi FE12 ductless heat pump that cost around $4,000 and keeps the house’s heating and cooling load down to around $15 per month. Estimated savings are $11,000 compared to radiant heat and about $21,000 over geothermal. The air temperature is kept balanced within two degrees with a Lifebreath recirculating HRV.


While costing more than traditional framing, the 12-inch SIPs roof and 10-inch SIPs walls contribute to a tight building envelope, with approximately 1.6 air changes per hour. The two-car garage that is built below the house is also tightly sealed, incorporating a ventilation system for fume exhaust.

Additional green features are a Whirlpool induction range, which is more energy efficient than gas and electric ranges, and a Caroma dual-flush toilet with an integrated sink in the master bathroom. Water from the sink drains into the tank to be reused when flushing the toilet.


“In this home it was about the whole package,” said Bergford, in an interview with Eco Building Pulse. “We were trying to reduce the total energy use of the home in as many ways as possible and show that you can make a really efficient house but not pay as much as some other green homes.”




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