custom built homesKer Thomson, an anesthesiologist living in Houston suburb Braes Heights, and his wife Rachel built their custom-designed home three years ago — and its energy-efficiency has led it to be recognized by several organizations as one of the best custom home designs for energy savings.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Thomsons’ residence has already earned an LEED Platinum certification, a “Fortified Rated” designation from the Institute for Building and Home Safety, and the Zero Energy Ready Home certification from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Like many custom built homes and custom luxury homes, the Thomsons’ home was built with modern, energy-saving materials and appliances. But unlike other custom homes for sale, Thomson’s design includes input from Texas AandM University’s design and construction experts, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The end result is a home outfitted with a sealed attic, walls made of insulated concrete, triple-laminated hurricane windows, LED lighting, energy efficient HVAC and roofing made from metal shingles. Other features in the Thomsons’ six-bedroom, three-story home include solar panels, rainwater harvesting equipment and even a solar-powered hot water heater.

“It represents a fundamentally different way to build a home and was designed for the U.S. Gulf Coast,” Thomson told the Houston Chronicle. “It still has all the amenities and appearances of an elegant custom home, but we have changed the game behind the sheet rock. The short- and long-term benefits from this type of construction become obvious, especially when viewed as a complete package, or a system.”

This innovative way of creating custom built homes has major savings for the Thomsons. Ker Thomson told theHouston Chronicle his monthly energy bills range from just $150 to $300 a month, whereas the price of powering a comparable in size home would be closer to $1,000 a month.

So while it may cost a little extra to add energy-efficient features to custom built homes, the long-term savings more than make up for it