Q: What do you do?
A: We design and build energy efficient custom homes that exceed Energy Star® standards. Our most efficient and eco-friendly homes include a solar water heating system and some even include a solar electric generation (PV) system. For homeowners and/or do-it-yourselfers who simply want to improve the efficiency of an existing home, we offer the following options:
|- Solar Water Heating Systems||- Ice House Roof®|
|- Solar Electric Generation Systems||- Insulated Concrete Forms|
Q: Why the name Stitt Energy Systems?
A: When company founder, Orlo Stitt, built his first energy-efficient home, he observed that all of the materials in a home’s energy shell (foundation, walls, windows, doors, roof and insulation) affected the energy performance of the others. The combination of materials, mechanical systems and building techniques actually created an integrated energy system that just happens to be called a house. He emphasized the importance of this ‘energy system’ concept by making it part of the company name. Modern building science has proven and now promotes this house-as-a-system approach to building.
If we act as your general contractor, we provide all materials and mechanical systems. If we provide construction management services to build the energy envelope, you choose and pay for many allowances directly.
Q: What if I want to keep the trees on my site?
A: We want you to keep as many trees on your site as possible! Deciduous trees on the south, southeast and southwest sides of your home are the most efficient and natural way to cool your home in the summer. Coniferous trees to the north, northwest and northeast protect you from cold winter winds. We encourage keeping trees!
Q: How can you be so sure that my new house will perform the way you say it will?
A: We design it to use the most energy efficient materials available, and we inspect it at every stage of construction. We perform a diagnostic “blower door test” after insulation is installed, and an independent, certified energy rater inspects it for Energy Star® compliance. After your home is finished, the rater returns and inspects it again. Our approach is based on building science. We focus on every home being a holistic energy system as well as being a beautiful, comfortable, and healthy space in which to live.
Q: Can a house be built so tightly it becomes unhealthy?
A: Yes, a tightly air sealed house requires a controlled fresh air supply for healthy indoor air quality (IAQ). We require and provide energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) that bring fresh air into the house and control moisture. We also specify and recommend building and finish materials that create less indoor air pollution than others.
Q: Won’t my house be energy efficient as long as I’ve installed plenty of insulation?
A: Insulation does prevent heat from moving through materials, and it comes in many forms and R-values. (R-values define how effectively insulation prevents heat movement – the higher the number, the more effective it is.) But high R-values and large quantities of insulation are not the whole story. If a wall has a very high R-value (R-38), but it also has gaps around the windows letting outside air leak in, you won’t have a very energy efficient wall. Insulation is just one of many components that create an energy efficient home.
Q: What makes Stitt Energy Systems, Inc. different from other companies that build energy efficient houses?
A: We believed in and have been designing and building energy efficient homes since 1978 – long before it became popular. Our expertise comes from building hundreds of homes in all sizes and styles. We research new products and technologies to determine if they will add true value to our homes. We have received national recognition for home performance from the National Association of Home Builders Research Center and U. S. Department of Energy. In fact, we have won more EnergyValue in Housing awards than any other builder nationwide. We have also formally committed to building to the latest Energy Star® V. 3.0 standards.
Q: Why do most of your homes have so many south-facing windows and doors? Won’t my home be hot in the summer?
A: We design homes to take advantage of free passive solar energy whenever possible, and south-facing glass is part of that design. The glass lets winter sun in to warm the house. Wide overhangs or sun control walkways built above the glass keeps the sun out during the summer when it is higher in the sky. Shade trees also provide relief from the summer sun, which is why we like to save or plant as many trees as possible.
Q: What if my best view is north, east or west?
A: We’ll design your new home to take advantage of the best views you have regardless of orientation. Over the years, we have devised ways to build energy efficient homes that face every direction and still capture as much free solar energy as possible.
Q: Do you build outside of Arkansas?
A: Yes, we do. We have homes in 18 states.
Q: What does it cost to build an energy efficient home? Is it a lot more expensive?
A: Building an energy efficient custom home costs anywhere from 8% to 15% more than building an inefficient custom home. BUT the cost of energy upgrades is typically offset by lower monthly utility bills for as long as you live there. Compare the monthly cost of one of our homes, including principle, interest, taxes, insurance AND ENERGY COSTS (PITIE) with the monthly cost of other homes. The value becomes clear!
Q: Do you recommend installing solar electric (PV) systems?
A: Yes. Today’s systems are reliable and quite affordable with federal tax credits and incentives available in many areas. These systems can provide you with complete or partial energy independence.
Q: How about heating water?
A: Most of our homes include a solar water heating system. With an average 5-7 year payback time and lifespan of up to 30+ years, this system is a 'best value' building option that qualifies for tax credits.
Q: How about geothermal?
A: We recommend installing geothermal systems in homes that are subject to prolonged extreme outdoor temperatures. Our experience shows that, in moderate climates, very energy-efficient homes can maintain comfortable indoor air temperatures without the added expense of a geothermal system.
Q: How about generating power with wind?
A: Wind power generation is more complex than solar power generation because of the size and number of moving parts, zoning restrictions, and the need for 10-12mph sustained winds. Despite that, it is a renewable source of energy that is appropriate and cost effective in select areas.
Q: What other ways can I save energy in my new house?
A: Use compact fluorescent or LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs. Purchase appliances with good energy ratings. Regulate your heating and cooling systems with programmable thermostats. Eliminate ghost loads, and turn off lights, fans, and electronics when not in use. Choose low-flow water fixtures. And there’s more!
Q: Does an energy efficient home really save that much money and energy?
A: Yes! The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the following:
Home’s HERS Index Score
Annual Energy Savings
(over typical house)
Savings Over 30 Years
(at Today’s Rates)
|100 - Meets minimum energy codes||$539||$16,170|
|70 - Qualifies as Energy Star®||$1,078||$32,340|
|50 - Most Stitt Homes||$1,437||$43,110|