At a Glance
Energy-efficient homes ranging from 1,400 square feet to 4,500 square feet
Since Joe Atalla founded Berkeley Building Company in Boise, Idaho, in the summer of 2008, he has stuck to the company’s mission of “more thought per square foot” to create homes with distinctive and timeless style. And at the same time, the company has striven to provide each home with quality, energy-efficient elements that will last a long time. “No matter the size, we pay the same attention to quality and detail,” Atalla says.
Because of this, the homes Berkeley builds are consistently Energy Star-rated, meaning each one as a whole is recognized for its many energy-efficient qualities based on guidelines set down by the EPA. The firm aims for maximal efficiency by including items such as energy-saving insulation, efficient heating and cooling, efficient water heaters, and Energy Star appliances. Speaking about Joe Atalla and his firm, Ingo Stroup, an Energy Star certifier, says, “He’s been a 100 percent dedicated energy-efficient builder for several years, and what’s nice about that is that it’s a national voluntary program, and he’s gone above and beyond the minimum standards.”
The various Berkeley home models range from 1,400 square feet to 4,500 square feet and cost anywhere between $150,000 and $477,000 in the Boise market, Atalla says. It’s a tough market, especially with the bad economy, so builders have to fight to stand out, and Berkeley homes are “tighter and more efficient than most homes in Boise,” Atalla adds. The majority of Berkeley homes are wood-framed and feature a lot of siding, and the company also recently switched to a higher-grade siding that has a 50-year warranty, which is longer-lasting than most sidings seen in the Boise Valley area.
Berkeley homes appeal to first-time homebuyers, retirees, and families, Atalla says. As of July 2011, the company was constructing 10 homes in the Boise Valley area. “We have a wide variety—kind of a hodgepodge—of buyer profiles,” Atalla says.
One of Berkeley’s satisfied buyers is Connie Lindberg, who’s been thrilled with the one-story, four-bedroom, four-car-garage home—just less than 2,000 square feet—that she bought from the firm. “We loved working with [Atalla], and we love the house,” she says, adding that she’s been especially pleased with the home’s energy-efficient features that keep her bills low. “Our electric, gas, and water bills are much cheaper than any other place we’ve lived. The house stays cool in summer—and we do have central air—and it stays nice and warm and cozy in the winter. And we love it here.” Lindberg estimates her electric bills were three or four times higher at her previous home, which was two stories, and that her gas bills in the winter used to be two or three times bigger than they are now. And, she says, “It’s not nearly as dusty here because the windows are sealed so well.”
“That’s important to me,” Atalla says of Lindberg’s home’s year-round, long-term benefits, “to plan ahead for [the future of] homes” so that they continue to be energy-efficient and save money on buyers’ wallets. Moving forward, this practice will only set the company apart further from its competition in the Boise area. ABQ
Update: Berkeley Building Company is excited to have built twice as many homes over the course of 2012 as it did in 2011, a jump attributable to customer satisfaction and constant design and construction improvements. The company consistently strives for better energy-efficiency practices, it’s working toward NAHB Green Certification for all its homes, and it completed several this year. Berkeley was also selected as Northwest Energy Star’s Builder of the Year for Idaho, and it continues to expand its philanthropic efforts in children’s medical care. The firm was even chosen as St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital’s 2013 Dream Home builder in Idaho, and it also participated in projects for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.