Presented with wide shallow lots other homebuilders in this sustainable master-planned community could not accommodate, the design goal was aggressive: Incorporate functional design and classic styling with cutting-edge zero energy building techniques to create a price-competitive Zero Energy home series with four bedrooms, study and generous storage. Knowing that conservation is the most important aspect of a zero energy home, a target of ‘HERS 40 Before Solar’ was set as the benchmark for this series.
Our strategy focused on using products and technologies familiar to our existing trade partners. This helped control costs and execute efficiently in the field. In order to prevent compromising the architectural design features that traditionally make our homes warm and inviting like expansive windows, 10’ plate heights and open floor plans, we designed this home with a detailed understanding of each component’s effects on the home’s efficiency. Challenges arose with our local utility on the installation of the solar photovoltaic system. Utility guidelines limit the system size allowed, causing problems when calculating the production needed to offset the home’s energy use. Our team designed a plan to maximize the energy conservation within the home, thereby minimizing the system size and delivering this home under the utility’s stringent requirements.
These ultimate ‘green’ Zero Energy homes, designated as Department of Energy Challenge Home, EPA Indoor Air Plus Homes and EPA Energy Star Homes, are not demonstration homes! Rather, they are an entire series of production-built homes with Zero Energy included on ALL plans. The challenge we’ve mastered with our detailed integrated design process is building Zero Energy homes for every buyer at an affordable, competitive price point, finally making Zero Energy available to the average home buyer.