The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 26, 2013

Open house to showcase energy efficiency opportunities

The app on Frank Schaffer’s iPhone offers a series of bar graphs and percentages, breaking down the current and past energy usage statistics from all over his house.

“Every single circuit in the house has a monitoring system to it,” Schaffer said. “I can monitor and calculate all of our costs right here for the past day, or past week. We have three kids. If they were to leave the fridge door open, the parameters can be set so that it sends us a text alert so we know something’s going on.”

In terms of energy efficiency, the future is here and it’s at 2215 W. 27th St. The 2,200-square-foot residence — billed as Joplin’s first reproducible green home — was opened for private tours on Friday, and will be showcased during an open house and block party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Schaffer, president of F.E. Schaffer Construction, built the home utilizing the most up-to-date efficiency technology. From the AC unit and tankless water system to the hydronic furnace and plumbing system, everything has been designed to lower utility costs by making a much smaller energy footprint.

The former house on the property belonged to Schaffer’s mother, and it was destroyed in the 2011 tornado.

“We lived at 27th and Pearl and we lost our house, too,” he said. “When she moved to Springfield, we bought the lot, but we weren’t sure what we were going to do with it. We were so busy that first year and a half after the tornado helping out, rebuilding other homes and running a business. But there was a lot of time to think about what we wanted to do.”

During that time, Schaffer said he became infatuated with the concept of energy efficiency and what could be done to bring electric costs down.

Partnering with Missouri Gas Energy and a number of other organizations, he built a home that captures the triple crown when it comes to efficiency. It has been certified as an Energy Star partner through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program, received LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, and a nod from the National Association of Home Builders’ Green program.

One of the key components to the home’s success is the thermal enclosure system.

“If it weren’t raining, you could walk around the house and notice that there are no foundation vents,” Schaffer said. “From the outside in, everything gets sealed.”

Then, there’s the two and a half ton HVAC system, and the hydronic furnace that taps into the tankless water heaters to heat the home.

While outfitting a home with top-of-the line technology does require a significant up-front investment, it’s one that eventually will pay for itself. The proof, Schaffer said, is in the bills.

“Last month, we were still constructing the house and we were in and out, in and out,” said Schaffer. “The AC was running pretty much non-stop at 65 degrees to pull the humidity out of the house. Our bill was just $51.90.”

All of this is music to Catherine Hart’s ears.

Hart, the general manager of GreenTown Joplin, has been in Joplin since August 2011 to help educate city officials, private individuals and business owners about energy efficient and sustainable construction and think long-term when it comes to building.

“I am thrilled,” she said, during a private tour of the home on Friday. “I know how much research, thought and intention went into this. To see it open, I’m so happy for (Schaffer) and the community.

“I hope that it can help demystify green building for people. This is just one of the many types of green homes that Joplin has, but it shows that a normal-looking house can be energy efficient. This is a home for the future. It incorporates a lot of the bells and whistles we’re going to see in homes down the road.”

Bob Painter, the manager of energy efficiency programs for MGE, said Schaffer’s home serves as the perfect showcase for what is possible.

He said that interest in energy efficiency was slow to evolve after the tornado, even though the utility was offering rebates as an incentive to those willing to rebuild with it in mind. After talking to other builders, he was connected with Schaffer and they decided to design the home around the tankless water system.

MGE is using Schaffer’s home as a case study, showcasing its energy-saving features in detail at

“We want to use the home as a teaching tool for how to build effectively,” Painter said. “A lot of time, when you hear ‘green home’ you think it has to have solar. But this house doesn’t need solar because the envelope is so tight.

“I’m glad it’s here and where it is (in the tornado zone). It’s not a mega-home. It has plenty of space, but it’s on a smaller footprint. It’s a little on the upscale, but people can build a house like this affordably.”

Green partners

Other partners in the project include Rheem, Kohler, General Electric, C&L Supply, Metro Appliances, B&G Drafting, Fiberlite Technologies, Accurate Rater Network, Ozark Nursery, Crane Home Energy and LP Tech Shield.

Text Only
Local News
  • Pension funding improving, actuary reports

    An extra $1 million contribution by the city of Joplin last year to the Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund boosted the funding ratio of the plan by 2 percent, the plan’s actuary told the board Thursday morning.

    April 17, 2014

  • Special counsel to be appointed in ethics complaint against Neosho council members

    The Neosho Ethics Board on Wednesday voted to ask the City Council to appoint a special counsel to provide legal advice to the board’s remaining two members as they investigate a complaint against two members of the council.

    April 17, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Will new Earth-like planet have better cable offerings?

    When I read that astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, I had a couple of deep scientific questions. First: What’s the Wi-Fi like? And: Are their TV channels better than ours? Hey, I didn’t get an “Incomplete” in college astronomy for nothing.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Christian ministry plans Missouri camp expansion

    A nondenominational Christian ministry is planning a $21.5 million expansion on land it owns near Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, with a goal of offering gatherings beyond the traditional summer camps.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 041714 Treble Makers.jpg Carl Junction ‘Treble Makers’ to sing at Springfield Cardinals’ stadium

    Next month, 75 Carl Junction sixth-grade students will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Hammons Field before a Springfield Cardinals game. And with more than 600 parents, family members and other residents planning to attend, the May 3 event has been dubbed “Carl Junction Day.”

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Public hearing set on posed TIF district

    Financial details of a proposed new tax increment financing district for the Silver Creek Galleria area will be discussed in detail at an April 28 public hearing, members of the city’s TIF Commission were told Thursday. Chris Williams, a TIF attorney representing the city of Joplin, told the panel the Thursday meeting was intended to walk commissioners through the public hearing steps.

    April 17, 2014

  • Volunteer projects spark two bills in Jefferson City

     moving through the Missouri House and Senate were inspired by a volunteer project in Carl Junction last year that stalled over a question of whether those volunteers had to be paid prevailing wage under Missouri law. “This bill is very simple. All it says is if someone is a volunteer, they won’t be forced to be paid prevailing wage,” state Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, told lawmakers during a hearing on his bill last week.

    April 17, 2014

  • Chairman of Neosho Ethics Board resigns

    The chairman of the Neosho Ethics Board unexpectedly resigned on Thursday as the board investigates a complaint against Neosho City Council members David Ruth and Steve Hart.

    April 17, 2014

  • CWEP receives top honor from national power group

    The Carthage Water and Electric Plant has received the top award for reliable electrical service from the American Public Power Association.

    April 17, 2014

Must Read


Would you use a community safe room when the area is under a tornado warning?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter