Seal Certifies Energy Efficiency, Greenness, Healthy Air

'Significance precedes momentum' is the motto of David Goswick, director of the Freedom Project Alliance.

By Meghan Stromberg, Senior Editor | November 30, 2002


A worker installs Icynene insulation in stud cavities at a Design Basics home in Omaha, Neb. Within seven seconds, says Design Basics' Paul Foresman, the Icynene expands and dries, creating an air-infiltration barrier.

"Significance precedes momentum" is the motto of David Goswick, director of the Freedom Project Alliance, a collaborative industry group of home builders, designers and banking and mortgage professionals that developed the Freedom Seal.

The Freedom Seal is a third-party-verified certification that guarantees standards of energy efficiency, environmentally friendly materials and healthy indoor air quality along with a stronger, safer home. To date, four homes have been certified. The alliance is negotiating with home insurance and mortgage groups to establish special discounts for buyers.

Design Basics, a large, national purveyor of house plans, has created 24 plans designed to the Freedom Seal criteria, is gradually adapting its existing plans and has committed to designing all its future homes to the standard. Goswick says two Texas builders also have committed to building more than 700 Freedom Seal homes ranging in price from $100,000 to $800,000. He estimates the cost for certification (and the independent inspection) will be $1,000, but it might vary by region.

Two of Design Basics' Freedom Seal homes were built as showcase homes in Omaha, Neb., in September. The builder was able to scale back from a 100,000-Btu furnace to a 50,000-Btu furnace and reduce air-conditioning tonnage from 5 to 2 tons.

Design Basics estimates that buyers of the Tifton model could save $63 monthly despite the almost $13,000 price tag of the Freedom Seal enhancements.