OGDEN — The home Weber State University officials hope becomes the first in a string of energy-efficient dwellings designed and built by students and staff has a buyer, preliminarily.

Thirteen would-be buyers pre-qualified to acquire the central Ogden home for the list price of $345,000 and Weber State President Brad Mortensen picked the finalist at random on Friday — Melissa and Mark Haslam.

Net Zero Home Drawing

Weber State President Brad Mortensen draws a name to see who will purchase the net-zero home built by Weber State students in central Ogden on Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. The home was designed and managed by students in the Parson Construction Management department as part of the Solar Decathlon. Thirteen people put in offers on the home and one buyer was selected at random.

“We’re just excited,” Melissa Haslam, on hand for the selection, said after Mortensen pulled her and her husband’s name from a raffle drum. Mortensen made the selection from the porch of the home at 2807 Quincy Ave. while others in the running and university representatives, including Weber State mascot Waldo the Wildcat, looked on.

The home, built as a project involving several university classes and professors, is one of 10 finalists in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a competition to spur interest among students in energy-efficient design and engineering. The all-electric, net-zero home has solar panels, an energy-efficient heating and cooling system and special design features meant to conserve energy, like a foundation encased in insulation.

Haslam said the competitive price of the home and the fact that it is new drew her and her husband to it. That it’s energy-efficient on top of all that is “just bonus for us. That’ll be amazing,” she said. As a net-zero dwelling, it’s designed to generate enough energy to meet the power needs of those living inside.

Closing on the home sale comes later, but Haslam, who’s expecting the couple’s first child, hopes she and her husband can move in soon. They now live in an apartment in Brigham City and the Quincy Avenue home will be their first as homeowners, she said.

Mortensen said he hopes the home serves as inspiration to others to build their own energy-efficient homes. Jeremy Farner, the Weber State professor who helped spearhead the home’s construction, said he expects the annual energy bill of the structure will be a little over $100, a fraction of the cost in a traditional home, $1,500 to $2,000. He hopes to keep tabs with the Haslams and track actual energy use in the home once occupied.

“It’s smart financially. It’s smart for the air quality. It’s smart for the environment,” Mortensen said. Work started last winter and finished this summer.

Farner, an associate professor in Weber State’s building design and construction program, said proceeds from the sale, once completed, will be used to create a seed fund to build more homes like the one on Quincy Avenue, also involving university students and staff. “We’re excited to build our next one,” Mortensen said.

Net Zero Home

Students, faculty staff and volunteers from Weber State University work on the landscaping at a net-zero home in central Ogden on June 12, 2020. The project is being managed by students in the Construction Management program in the College of Engineering, Applied Science and Technology.

The site of the next home has yet to be pinpointed, Farner said, but preliminary design work may start as soon as next semester. South Ogden officials have approached the university about locating a home there, he said.

Ian Morris was on hand Friday for the drawing. He also wanted to buy the home, but his name was drawn 10th, far down the list. “This kind of house is what we’ve been dreaming about for years and years and years,” he said, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth Morris.

Now the Morrises will return to the drawing board to decide their next steps, but energy-efficiency will be a priority. “We’re going to try to find something along these lines,” Ian Morris said.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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