Pilot Mountain News

Builder earns national recognition

A local builder has received national recognition for building energy efficient homes in accordance with guidelines from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home Program.

Shawn D. Jessup of S.D. Jessup Construction Inc., was notified by a letter dated July 28 that his company has been selected as a DOE 2017 Home Innovation Award winner in the “Custom for Buyer” category. The category recognizes custom homes built for a specific buyer.

According to the DOE, Zero Energy Ready homes are built “with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health and durability.”

“This is a significant accomplishment,” the notifying letter explains, “because this year was especially competitive with stronger applications and (a) more limited number of awards than any prior year.”

“Most importantly,” the letter continues, “your leadership is paving the way for the rest of the U.S. housing market to provide zero energy ready homes that are better for our nation, our communities and our homeowners.”

Jessup received the recognition for a home completed in Tobaccoville, the third house he has built that meet the Zero Energy Ready requirements. Only eight Zero Energy Ready homes have been built in North Carolina.

Jessup is a lifelong resident of the area. He and his wife, Dena, reside in Pilot Mountain with their two sons, Eli, age 6, and Dylan, age 3. He began his construction business in 1998

“It’s great to get a little national recognition for one of my homes,” he said. “Building better has been my focus since I started building homes almost 20 years ago. If you are going to do something, why not try to do it better? Naturally, everyone who builds new homes claims they build the best. If I was going to compete as a new builder I had to be different.”

From the early days of his business, Jessup often questioned and looked to improve on accepted methods and standards in home construction.

“Some things just didn’t make sense to me,” he explained. “In 2010, I had a client who was interested in building a more energy efficient home to save money on electricity bills. I’d heard about Energy Star certified homes and recommended we check into it. My customer agreed so I contacted an Energy Rater who inspects the job to verify that it meets the required specifications for certification. After meeting and talking with an energy rater, I quickly learned a lot of things that I had always suspected; that we were not doing things nearly as well as we could be doing them. That’s when the fun began and with my energy rater I got the opportunity to learn more about how a home could be built much better.”

Since that first certified home, Jessup says that stricter building codes have raised efficiency requirements. In turn, the requirements for Energy Star have also become more stringent in order to maintain a measurable difference between an Energy Star home and a code-built home.

“With each new ‘high-performance’ home came more experience and better ways of building homes,” he said. “As more of the market moved toward Energy Star, we kept building better and found that our homes were qualifying for the much stricter Zero Energy Ready Home program through the U.S. Department of Energy.”

“Now my new homes are designed and built around 4 priorities; energy efficiency, comfort, health, and durability. Not only do we build homes that are durable and more energy efficient, we also focus on the comfort and health of the people who are living in them. Building homes to these strict standards requires great attention to detail and it’s not always easy. But in my mind it’s worth it and my friends who live in these homes have decided it was worth it.”

As a Home Innovation Award winner in the Custom for Buyer category, Jessup will now be entered to compete against other winners in the category for the Grand Housing Innovation Award.

The award, along with grand awards in four other categories, will be presented as part of the three-day Energy and Environmental Building Alliance Excellence in Building Conference, in October in Atlanta, Georgia. Jessup plans to attend the conference, looking for additional education and information that could help in his business.

“I guess you can say years of hard work, doing what many others did not want to do, has finally gotten some well deserved recognition on the national stage,” he said. “And I think everyone involved is as proud as I am.”

Additional information on the business and the recognition can be found at www.sdjessup.com.

Shawn Jessup displays the letter he recently received from the U.S. Department of Energy notifying him of his company’s selection to receive a 2017 Home Innovation Award through the Zero Energy Ready Home Program.
https://www.pilotmountainnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_Shawn-Jessup.jpgShawn Jessup displays the letter he recently received from the U.S. Department of Energy notifying him of his company’s selection to receive a 2017 Home Innovation Award through the Zero Energy Ready Home Program.

By Dean Palmer

Special to the News