NewsletterSustainable Design

Nevada Housing Industry Stakeholders Are Prioritizing Energy Efficiency

The houses in the Solaris community of Las Vegas may appear similar to others at first glance, yet they conceal distinctive features, both subtle and conspicuous, that distinguish them.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the process starts before electrical wiring or plumbing has been installed, with slabs of insulation inserted in the walls and under the stairs, Topol explained. Thick acoustical sealant fills every potential gap between the floor and walls, and every protruding light, fire alarm or fire sprinkler will be sealed to prevent air from leaking out.

“When you get an older home and you see dust coming in under your baseboards, you go ‘How did that get there?’?” Topol said. “It’s coming from the exterior of the home.”

Additionally, the windows are double-paned, with argon gas injected between the two panes to act as a thermal insulator. On those 100-degree summer days in Las Vegas, the windows will only be mildly warm to the touch, he said.

While such energy-saving features save money over time, the downside is that they drive up the initial price of the house.

In the Solaris community, near the 215 Beltway and Russell Road, prices range from $344,990 to $400,000 for a house between 1,165 and 1,183 square feet.

“Especially because we service the first-time buyer, the challenge for them is if they can’t get in because (the house is) too expensive, then all the savings we’re putting together on the ownership side of things are never realized,” said Tom McCormick, president of Touchstone Living.

Nonetheless, there is a nationwide push for more energy-efficient homes.

In a letter last March, a group of consumer and mortgage lenders urged the Federal Housing Finance Agency to require all homes they finance to follow the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code.

“While the lenders represented here have various positions with respect to addressing both climate impacts and resilience, this proposal will have the added benefit of helping to reduce emissions from the built environment, advancing both corporate and governmental commitments to prudent climate action, and increasing survivability in homes in extreme weather events,” the letter states.

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