Milton home is tops in energy efficiency, and affordable

State and local officials were on hand recently for a ribbon-cutting on No. 1 energy-rated home in Delaware. The home is Colter Construction’s Allen model in the development of Sandstone, near Milton. Representatives from U.S. Rep. Mike Castle’s office, as well as the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, the Sussex County Council and the Delaware State Housing Authority attended the ribbon-cutting to help celebrate its completion.

Coastal Point • Monica Fleming: State and local officials were on hand for a ribbon-cutting for the number one energy-rated home in Dealware, the Allen model, in the Sandstone development near Milton.Coastal Point • Monica Fleming
State and local officials were on hand for a ribbon-cutting for the number one energy-rated home in Dealware, the Allen model, in the Sandstone development near Milton.

The home boasts one of the most energy efficient ratings a home can receive. On a scale where a net-zero-energy home rates as 0, the Allen’s Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index is a 49. To be “Energy Star” partner, a home must be rated at either 80 or 85, depending on the climate zone. Most new-construction homes have ratings around 100 and most existing homes average around 130.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Ed Minch of Energy Services Group, who rated the home, “75 is pretty remarkable. There’s not many under 60, and this house is a 49. It costs about $520 to heat and cool it for an entire year.”

The 49 is the best rating ever for a home in the state of Delaware, and Minch said the home set a “new precedent.”

Anas Ben Addi of the Delaware State housing Authority said the company and the house represent many of Gov. Jack Markell’s ideas when it comes to housing. Not only was it built sustainably, with little waste and with energy efficiency in mind, but it is also considered affordable housing. The 1,265-square-foot Allen, with a standard lot of half to three-quarters of an acre, sells for as little as $239,500.

“We have all seen how easy it is to get in a house in the past two to three years. But the flip side is we have seen how hard it is to stay in that house and avoid foreclosure,” said Addi. “This allows people both the access and the ability to stay for a long time.”

He said that, with interest rates low and down-payment assistance from DSHA, and the $8,000 federal first-time homebuyer tax credit that they now hope will extend beyond December of this year, now is still a good time to think about buying.

“As much as we have seen the dark side, I think we are starting to see the bright side again,” Addi said. “I commend Terrance for his leadership,” he added of Terrance Babbie, president of Colter Construction and developer of Sandstone.

Babbie thanked everyone in attendance at the event for coming out and for their support. The home was built using help from consultants with the Building America program, from the Building Science Corporation and DOW Building Solutions.

Building Science Corporation, an architecture and engineering firm funded by the Department of Energy’s Building America program, aided the company with full integration of the building enclosure, mechanical systems, indoor air quality and moisture control.

The home’s key features are 2-by-6 wall construction, air sealing of the home, an insulated and conditioned crawl space, R32 exterior wall construction, R50 ceiling insulation, the most efficient HVAC system, low-VOC paint, a 98 percent efficient tankless hot water heater and advanced framing.

For more information on the Department of Energy’s Building America program, visit For more information on Colter Constrcution or the Sandstone development, visit or