By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Josh Edmonds has built the future at 45 Delaware St.
• POINT ONE: A partner in the Simple Integrity construction firm, Edmonds has been paying $4,000 a year to heat his home in Springfield Center. The 2,600-square-foot house he’s just finished building at 45 Delaware will cost $254 a year to heat.
“That’s a pretty substantial difference,” Edmonds said in a recent interview: $4,000 vs. $254.
A home like the one he’s just completed – it’s on target to be certified by the Passive House Institute, the international gold standard – costs 3 percent more to build than a standard house.
The savings on energy alone will erase that difference in just four years, he said.
• POINT TWO: He doesn’t expect to do any maintenance for 25-30 years, and then, just a bit of painting.
• POINT THREE: The house will be at a comfortable, even temperature 365 days a year, even if you stroll by one of the high-performance windows when it’s 5-below.
“We build a box that’s air-tight,” the builder said, “and put a roof on it.
• POINT FOUR: You may have noticed sizeable south-facing windows, and just a couple of small ones on the north side. Edmonds estimates, if the heat goes off, the interior will never get colder than 49 degrees.
“We catch a fair amount of heat from these windows,” he said, walking by the larger ones during a tour of the house. “And the building doesn’t lose heat. It has such a great envelope.”
Most people in the village have been aware of Josh Edmonds for years, first as part of Dr. Lee Edmonds’ clan of ribbon-winning long-distance runners.
At age 14, Edmonds, now 31, began working for Simple Integrity co-founder Jon Edgington, and continued to do so through high school and summers, joining him fulltime after graduating from Liberty University.
At Liberty, Josh met his wife, Jaime – she’s also a runner, setting high-school records in her native Michigan that still stand today. The couple has two boys, Ezekiel, 2, and Asher, 4.
Edmonds’ approach – at 45 Delaware, and an earlier redo of 8 Walnut St. – is based on five principles advocated by the Passive House Institute, which was founded in 1996 by Dr. Wolfgang Feist. Feist built his first pilot home in 1990 in Darmstadt, Germany.
The institute certifies passive houses, but builders like Simple Integrity have to meet five criteria: 1) eliminate “thermal bridging”; 2) use continuous insulation; 3) make structure air-tight; 4) use triple-paned high-performance windows and doors; 5) use HRV, heat-recovery ventilation.
Edmonds is a man with more than just an idea: Simple Integrity’s already created a half-dozen “high-performance houses” in Greater Cooperstown. You may have seen one going up on Norton Cross Road, Town of Middlefield. The next is under construction in Pierstown.
“Every house we’ve built since 2014” – about a half-dozen – “has been a ‘high-performance’ house,” he said.
Most significant for society at large – and locally, of course – these super-efficient homes can be affordable: 1,200 square feet, three bedroom, for less than $300,000.
“I have a lot of ideas,” he said. And at 31, plenty of time to implement them.
His next idea surfaced at last week’s Village Board meeting: a 12-unit apartment building at 10 Chestnut St., applying many of the same principles put in practice at 45 Delaware.
Edmonds plans to price the apartment, utilities included, in the $1,350 range, within the 30-percent housing-cost parameters for a family with a $54,000 income.
“I grew up in the village. I love the village,” he said, adding, “You need population base for the village to be what it is, for people to work here and live here.”
The two parcels, slight less than an acre, are zoned R-2, limited to single-family homes. But Edmonds is seeking a Planned Development District, similar to what the Bank of Cooperstown got to allow its parking lot and New York Pizza is seeking to demolish the former Triple A building.
The Village Board’s Housing Committee has been looking to create new opportunities for housing in Cooperstown, and is meeting at 10:30 a.m. next Monday, June 10, to finalize its proposal.
“I’m excited to see what the village comes up with,” he said. “Right now, it’s hard to do too much in the village.”