Salem House to be on ASES National Tour Oct 2nd and 3rd

ASES, the American Solar Energy Society (founded in 1954!), has traditionally held a tour the first weekend of October of buildings across the country that use solar or other energy efficiency strategies.  The goal is this annual tour is to help people understand what is possible in the area of saving energy.

The Hoyer home in Salem, Iowa, is part of this year’s tour (location: 202 West Oak Street, one block west of the town square).  The house, built in 2018-2019, is intended for aging-in-place and enjoying in the interim. With a footprint of 1,344 sq feet, it consists of one main floor, plus a walk-out basement (unfinished due to Covid) with an extra bedroom.

The house is all-electric. Rather than gas or propane for heat, it uses a simple air-to-air heat pump that also acts as an air-conditioner.  A 6KW solar system provides electricity through the Alliant net-metering program.  The Hoyer home is one of the four homes in Iowa with a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index below 10 (it has a rating of 6, and is the newest of the four).  The house comes in at about double the Iowa Building Energy Code.

Home-owner Steve Hoyer said, “I was skeptical, but I have been happily surprised.  In mid-April, we received the final bill from Alliant for our first full 12-month net metering period.  Our total bill for the year was less than $300, $418 with the monthly line charge.  We are about at the same place in “banked” energy this year as last right now, so I believe that this will be typical.”

Although energy-efficient, the house is comfortable, full of natural light and ventilation.  It has standard energy-star windows and appliances, with a few new innovations.  The goal was to build an energy-efficient home that cost no more per square foot than a typical new home, which was proved possible. People may stop by from 1-4:00 Oct. 2 or 3 to see the home for themselves. RSVP at

Mary Hoyer, who designed their new home, is available to give presentations on the house, and how their strategies might apply to existing homes.  Contact her at