Before being energy efficient was all the rage, Frank and Vicki Fanta of Omaha, Nebraska, were living the "green life" for decades. The pair raised three daughters on a farm where they lived exclusively off the land to support themselves, producing food through plants and livestock and filtering rainwater for use both out in the field and inside their home.
With their kids grown up now, the retired couple resides in the first house in the state to be awarded the Emerald certification from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).
As the top rating from the NAHB, Emerald certification is reserved for homes that use at least 60 percent less energy than is required by the local housing code.
According to a profile of the couple and their home in the local news source Omaha World-Herald, the Fantas seemingly plain ranch-style house sports a myriad of energy-efficient features, including a rainwater collector to use for watering their plants and an innovative compost center.
The only appliance that isn't all new is the couple's refrigerator. Vicki justified keeping it because it still worked and disposal would be too wasteful – and this couple does not like waste.
The source reported that only 90 homes nationwide have received the Emerald distinction from the NAHB. The designation of the Fanta residence marks the first Nebraska home on the prestigious list.
The house cost the Fanta's only $265,000, the couple revealed in the story, but unlike other homes of its kind it doesn't sport a flashy or futuristic design. Instead, it fits into Omaha's signature ranch-style aesthetic, and is indistinguishable from many of their neighbors homes.
An energy efficient home doesn't have to look ultra-modern, or even be a new structure to be environmentally conscious. With an energy audit, owners of older houses can see where they waste the most energy and evaluate possible solutions.