We actively searched for about three years in several Mid-Atlantic states for a company with depth of knowledge and demonstrated experience building energy efficient, passive solar homes. Our search ended when we found Stitt Energy Systems, Inc. in Rogers, Ark. We didn’t know much about building an energy efficient solar home then, but none of the other professional designers and builders we interviewed could carry on a meaningful conversation with us about doing so.
The first time we talked to Orlo Stitt by telephone (from Alexandria, Va.), we recognized he was able to actually talk with us about building an energy efficient solar home; he clearly knew a whole lot more about it than we did—and more than any of the other designers and builders we had consulted. When we visited Stitt Energy Systems, Inc. in Rogers a few weeks later, we knew they were the people we had been looking for!
Orlo and designer Suzanne Lantz really listened to us—and educated us. Not only did they clearly possess the design expertise we sought, they understood and respected the concept of a realistic building budget. Their preliminary construction budget worksheet enabled us to clearly see how much various options cost and gave us the flexibility and confidence to make educated trade-offs to stay within our budget.
Having consulted a couple dozen other home designers and builders before we found Stitt Energy, we were delighted that they understood right away what we envisioned and they didn’t try to talk us into building what they already knew how to build. They seemed to genuinely consider everything we said and always answered our many questions from deep experience using language we understood. They were uniquely able to “see” the energy efficient passive solar house we imagined plus subsequent levels of details that were invisible to us in the beginning. They seemed to enjoy figuring out how to accomplish the unique aspects of our project.
From our first phone call and first visit, they always treated us with utmost respect and courtesy. Their preliminary construction budget worksheet presented projected costs with transparency, a helpful tool for building trust early in our relationship. We learned we could rely on their professional judgment and behavior. We were blessed to find them in this great big world—we imagined and built our house while living in Alexandria, Va.; we found them “through the grapevine” in Rogers, Ark.; and we built our home near Stockton Lake, Mo.
Our home’s HERS score of 38 and Energy Star rating of five stars plus verifies its energy efficiency. Our average monthly electric bill over five years represents its energy efficiency from a different perspective: $63/month to power this ALL ELECTRIC 3,718 sq. ft. house (no propane and no generator), including the well water pump, an electric cart and heating a passive solar guinea house during frigid weather. During the coldest weather, we rely mostly on wood heat and solar gain to heat the whole house.We have a 3-kilowatt photovoltaic array on our roof and we take great comfort watching our electric meter run backwards when it generates free, clean electricity from the sun!