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COMPANY

Brookside Development Derby, Connecticut

CHALLENGE & SOLUTION

A challenging housing market, paired with a growing residential trend toward sustainability, has encouraged Brookside Development to specialize in building energy-efficient homes — specifically zero energy ready homes. The company incorporates high-efficiency propane appliances into its builds in order to meet green building standards and attract homebuyers under di cult market conditions.

RESULT

  • Propane appliances help Brookside Development satisfy zero energy ready requirements.
  • High-efficiency propane appliances reduce a home’s total energy consumption and emissions compared with other fuels.
  • Propane appliances over the performance and efficiency levels to reduce a home’s HERS score.
  • Zero energy ready builds provide a way for builders to stay competitive in a market that continues to trend towards environmental sustainability.

Overview

The company incorporates green building practices to provide durable, low- maintenance homes for its customers. More specifically, Brookside Development is on the leading edge of a major housing industry transformation toward zero energy ready homes. Incorporating propane appliances into its builds is one way that the company is working to meet green building standards and thrive in a unique housing market.

COMPANY FACES CHALLENGING HOUSING MARKET

The housing market in Connecticut has proven to be a challenge for builders in recent years as home values in the state are not keeping up with the national average. In fact, Connecticut’s Housing Price Index (HPI) saw the lowest growth of any state in the country between 2012 and 2017, according to data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Its HPI grew 5.5 percent over the course of five years, far lower than the national average of 30 percent, and well below neighboring states in the northeast.

The new home building market is shrinking, too. According to the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, permits for new homes remained relatively at over those same five years, with 300 fewer permits being granted.

“Our focus is to build more sustainable, durable homes that are more comfortable and have energy bills that don’t eat homeowners alive.”

MARK NUZZOLO
BROOKSIDE DEVELOPMENT OWNER

FOCUSING ON COST OF HOME OWNERSHIP, NOT PURCHASE PRICE

With the housing market trending in the wrong direction, Brookside Development began marketing itself differently in order to work and succeed under these market conditions. Brookside Development pivoted from talking to customers about the purchase price to discussing the cost of home ownership. In order to ensure a lower cost of home ownership, the company has implemented more sustainable, efficient building strategies — like zero energy ready homes — that incorporate propane appliances.

“We’ve integrated a series of home technologies in which propane happens to be a player,” says Mark Nuzzolo, owner of Brookside Development. “Our focus is to build more sustainable, durable homes that are more comfortable and have energy bills that don’t eat homeowners alive.”

ATTRACTING HOMEBUYERS WITH ENERGY-EFFICIENT SYSTEMS

Brookside Development does a cost- bene t analysis to figure out how to make the best use of solar, electric, and propane systems for each zero energy ready home it builds. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) defines a zero energy ready home as “a high performance home which is so energy efficient that a renewable energy system can o set all or most of its annual energy consumption.”

According to data from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), consideration for energy-efficient appliances is almost unanimous across all residential audiences, with 91 percent of residents buying and building a home, and 92 percent of residents remodeling a home. By integrating high-efficiency propane appliances, the home’s total energy consumption and emissions can be reduced while still providing homeowners the performance and comfort they expect. Plus, compared with conventional energy systems like electric or heating oil, the use of propane in a home owners the performance and efficiency levels to reduce a home’s HERS score, making it increasingly more marketable to customers for superior energy performance.

In Brookside Development builds, propane is generally used for water heating, cooking, replaces, and home heating. The company says its customers almost always prefer propane for cooking and replaces specifically, and propane tankless water heaters have become a staple of Brookside Development homes, too.

“You just can’t beat propane tankless water heaters,” Nuzzolo says. “They provide an endless supply of hot water and the lifespan, in theory, is significantly longer than electric or storage tank water heaters.”

The company also appreciates propane for its clean, low-emissions reputation. This enables Brookside Development to market its homes as healthy homes — which resonates with its buyers.

“We close a lot of deals when we start talking about healthy homes,” says DJ Collins, Brookside Development partner.

“People are interested in gas and propane because they run cleaner. They don’t want to breathe in particulate matter, and they relate to the health benefits of a high-performance home.”

COMPANY STAYS COMPETITIVE, MEETS ENERGY BENCHMARKS WITH PROPANE

Zero-energy builds provide a way for builders to stay competitive in a market that continues to trend towards environmental sustainability. Incorporating propane appliances into its builds allows Brookside Development to reach energy benchmarks that meet zero energy ready requirements. Plus, because propane appliances are so efficient, using this home energy source allows customers to justify buying a home in a market that’s upside down.

As of Fall 2019, Brookside Development has built three zero energy ready homes in Connecticut that include a suite of high-efficiency propane appliances including a propane furnace, tankless water heater, replace, and cooking range.

According to the DOE, zero energy ready homes must feature energy-efficient appliances and fixtures that are Energy Star qualified. An average of 68 percent of residential respondents — those soon to be buying, building, or remodeling a home — agreed that energy-efficient propane appliances significantly lower a home’s energy consumption and monthly energy bills compared with similar electric appliances, according to survey data from PERC.

As more residential customers place an emphasis on sustainable, energy-efficient homes, builders like Brookside Development who are well-versed in how high-efficiency propane appliances can help homes reach zero-energy status will set themselves up for success.

“People are interested in gas and propane because they run cleaner. They don’t want to breathe in particulate matter, and they relate to the health benefits of a high-performance home.”

DJ Collins
BROOKSIDE DEVELOPMENT partner

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