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Builder tests market with energy-efficient home in Yarmouth

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Builder tests market with energy-efficient home in Yarmouth

YARMOUTH — When Josh Wojcik decided to launch Upright Properties, a construction company specializing in energy-efficient homes, by doing its first project in Yarmouth, he knew he was taking a major risk.

But he was confident it would be a risk worth taking.

"There's a real energy in Yarmouth and a more progressive vision than most folks in the state," Wojcik said.

Upright Properties, which works through Upright Frameworks, is building its first home at 303 West Main St.; it's expected to be completed in August. Unlike most "green homes," this project was not commissioned by a buyer. Wojcik decided to build a spec home and then find a buyer.

"One of the things we're interested in finding out is if this kind of property can sell in a middle-class town," Wojcik said.

He said the home will go on the market for $400, 000. Although he said most energy-efficient homes don't sell without being custom made, the home already has had a few serious shoppers.

If the house doesn't sell, Wojcik plans to reduce the price and then look for a new area to build homes. Upright Properties already has a plan made for a home in Portland, where Wojcik is also confident it will have no trouble selling.

"It's an experiment," he said. "That's what you do when you're an entrepreneur."

Wojcik has done efficiency retro-fit projects in Yarmouth in the past, so believes he knows what residents are looking for.

"The customers in Yarmouth seem like they are especially clear on that initial capital investment for savings in the long term," Wojcik said.

According to Wojcik, the West Main Street home will have lower heating and maintenance costs and will have 75 percent lower energy costs. He said the home owner will start to see the payback within five to six years after purchase.

"People in Yarmouth seem like they get the equation," Wojcik said. 

With three bedrooms, a large back deck, and a home office, Wojcik said the home was built with a family in mind, but with a large first-floor master bedroom, the home would also suit an older couple. The ideal customer, he said, is one who understands how the energy efficient home will benefit them for many years to come.

"We want people who realize that a house isn't just an upfront purchase, it's a lifetime purchase," Wojcik said.

Wojcik said if a buyer comes along before the home is completed, Upright Properties will customize it for them. Also, if the buyer wants, it can be made a net zero home, meaning it produces as much energy as it uses.

Either way, he said, the owner will be saving energy and money.

"They'll be way below the average cost of living than others in Maine," Wojcik said.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.