MANTACHIE, MS — A study involving the development of single-family homes will give a better understanding of how to obtain healthy, comfortable, durable, affordable, and energy-efficient housing in Mississippi.

According to a feature article at, “the Mantachie Estates is a development consisting of eight single-family homes, four elderly homes, and a community building. Phase One included the construction of the eight single-family homes for first-time buyers. All eight homes have slight to major differences in their building systems.

“Air-tightness and duct leakage characteristics will be measured for each home. Energy and operating costs will be tracked by dataloggers installed in each home. This data will be used to determine a potential cost savings to the builder, while providing a better performing home to the buyer.

“The approach also focuses on reducing a builder's number one headache: warranty and call back expenses. Strategies were developed to reduce drywall cracking, nail pops, paint and trim problems, dust marking of carpets, and comfort complaints.

“The Mississippi Energy Demonstration Project showed there are ‘break points’ where the cost of the energy-efficient features are balanced by the reductions of other construction costs. These ‘break points’ involve levels of energy-efficiency that allow a specific component of a building to be downsized or deleted.

“Construction costs were reduced by improving building envelope performance thereby allowing the downsizing of mechanical equipment. The savings provided more than offset increased costs associated with controlled mechanical ventilation and source control of pollutants.

“The Mantachie experience demonstrates dramatic improvements in energy efficiency (50% reduction in energy use), while saving costs on construction (-$500/unit) compared to standard construction.”

Publication date: 11/19/2001