Steel frame home designed for net zero living

Steel frame home designed for net zero living

Using a patented light steel frame building technology and integrated process, BONE Structure, a designer and builder of luxury custom homes, built its first California net zero energy home.

Commissioned by Stanford Professor of Climate & Clean Energy, Mark Z. Jacobson, the home was designed to meet his green building standards so he can "practice what he preaches," as he told local media.

The 3,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom home was designed and built by Canadian prefab homes company BONE Structure. The building was conceived and constructed to be zero-net energy (ZNE), which means the home creates as much or more energy than is used by the home.

The house runs on 100 percent electricity with the help of a 15kW rooftop solar system, a Tesla Powerwall for energy storage, a Tesla charger for his electric car and Nest appliances. The property doesn’t have gas lines.

Jacobson said the building envelope is leak proof. The home includes heat pumps for air and water heating, and an electric induction stove. The house will be powered by solar panels on the rooftop and energy will be stored using Tesla batteries in the garage.

The steel frame is made from 89 percent recycled material. BONE’s design philosophy is that the clip-together allows buyers to customize the size and layout of the house, rather than picking from prefabricated rooms.

All the parts are manufactured in Canada with a five-to-six week delivery lead-time. Assembling the frame took less than a week. Another week was spent spraying it with a soy-based foam insulation that insulates and keeps the steel from shrinking or contracting with the weather.

Jacobson also noted that because the BONE Structure homes are prefabricated, they reduce waste, decreased dust and minimize disruption to neighbors because they are faster to build.

The 89 percent recycled steel is 100 recyclable, seismically resilient (ideal for earthquake-prone California) and safe from damage by termites and mold.

The steel columns and beams are laser cut in a manufacturing plant, making the footprint fully customizable. Jacobson's home is on an odd shaped lot and the BONE Structure system allowed for a design that maximized the home's footprint on the site. The steel beam system can support interior spaces and window lines up to 25 feet between columns.

The home hosted more than 1,000 visitors during an open house in June.

“The strong interest from Bay Area residents in our new net zero energy home was overwhelming,” said Charles Bovet, Vice President at BONE Structure. “Many people are interested in learning more about green options in home building and how to meet California’s 2020 Zero Net Energy requirements

Read more about factory built homes.


Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Connected Homes / Smart Homes, Energy Audits, Prefabricated Homes / Systems Built Homes / Modular Homes, Thermal Envelope

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