Energy-Efficient Homeowner Boasts $9 Utility Bill 

A man in Vassalboro just may have built the most affordable energy efficient home in Maine–and he says you can do it too.

Tom Fullam was a heating contractor for 30 years.

He realized how inefficient homes were in retaining the heat they generated.

“I had looked at it, and the math added up that you could build a house that didn’t need a regular heating system,” said Fullam.

He decided to build a house from the ground up — energy efficient in every way, but a bit expensive to build. He entered his home in the nationwide Energy Value Housing Awards–and came in second.

“But I knew I could build one that was better and cost less,” said Fullam.

So he put the original house on the market and built the perfected version right next door. He moved in this past October. So how did he do it?

“The outside building shell is built with double-wall construction, so it has three layers of insulation and a vapor barrier,” said Fullam.

Since very little heat escapes, he says about 89 percent less energy is used for heating costs. In fact, when he lost power last month…

“I started up the generator and this (holds up space heater) was all that was necessary to keep this house at 70 degrees,” said Fullam.

Add in solar panels, energy-star appliances, LED lights and a narrower bathtub to use less hot water, and his energy bill comes out to around nine dollars a month. But what about upfront costs?

The materials for homes like this do average about 4000 dollars more…

“But the house no longer needs a boiler or a chimney, so suddenly you have extra money. You’re actually producing the same house for less,” said Fullam

Fullam says your new house can be just as efficient–and cheap–he even teaches a course on it.

“Consumers and builders can take it and in that total of eight hours, they can learn what’s important to take into consideration when building a house like this,” said Fullam.

Building efficient homes and improving quality of life.

“All the articles about–can’t afford to live in my own home. I have to choose between medicine and food or heating oil. There’s no need to make that choice,” said Fullam.