Zero Home designed to virtually eliminate homeowners energy bills

Zero Home designed to virtually eliminate homeowners energy bills

Imagine needing your furnace only three to five days a year in a home located in a state known for some harsh winters.

That's the plan for the Zero Home by Garbett Homes located in Herriman, Utah. Considered a non-custom home, Garbett says it's the first production home in the climate zone that will be net-zero, or produce as much energy as it uses.

The home has achieved a quite a bit so far: It's the first home in Utah to receive U.S. Department of Energy Challenge Home status; it's both an EPA Indoor airPLUS Home and an EPA ENERGY STAR Home. It's also the first net-zero production home to achieve a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating of 0 in a Climate 5 zone, as designated in the International Energy Conservation Code.

KTYG Group, the home's designer, expects the furnace and air conditioner to be used only three to five days each year. With the solar panels on the roof generating power year around the homeowner should have a monthly utility bill near zero (based upon projected energy conservation).

The Zero Home is equipped with Vivint's smart home technology and Vivint Solar's energy array, which will help the home generate its own energy and offsett most or all of the homeowners' utility bills. The average utility bill for residents in the same neighborhood as The Zero Home is about $300 per month.

It's been difficult to build an affordable net-zero home in the Salt Lake area's cold, dry climate, which according to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) climate zone map corresponds to Climate Zone 5.

Net-zero, climate 5 homes have been built in the past, but have only reached a HERS rating of 5 and could not be reproduced at an affordable price point. The Zero Home is the first to reach the critical 0 rating.

Administered by the Residential Energy Services Network, the HERS Index is the industry standard for measuring a home's energy efficiency; the lower the rating, the more self-sufficient the home.

The Zero Home also qualifies for DOE Challenge Home designation, which recognizes home builders for their leadership constructing zero-energy ready homes that are both energy efficient and include high-end finishes, improved indoor air quality, and greater durability. By meeting the program criteria, DOE Challenge Homes are at least 40 percent to 50 percent more energy efficient than a typical new home.

"It's incredibly exciting to see the Utah building community join as a leader in green home-building," says Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect of the Building Technologies Office at the U.S. Department of Energy. "The collaboration between Vivint and Garbett, which allows the consumer to purchase a truly environmentally friendly home, is a huge milestone—both for Utah and the country."

Photos courtesy Garbett Homes.

The Zero Home is priced in line with other homes in the area based on the price per square foot. Homebuyers can purchase a net zero home beginning at $350,000. The Zero Home is a single-family home that will feature five bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms and a four-car garage, including a charging station for an electric vehicle.

"This is a watershed project for green building in Utah and across the country," said Bryson Garbett of Garbett Homes. "Every family deserves energy savings and greater energy independence. With the partnership between two like-minded companies, we want to show that smart homes no longer have to come custom built, with multi-million dollar price tags."

Energy-saving features include:

  • Spray foam and blown-in insulation
  • Low-E windows
  • Compact fluorescent lighting
  • Super high-efficiency HVAC systems
  • HEPA air filtration system
  • Solar water heating
  • Dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets.
  • Real-time energy analytics technology, which will decrease the energy expenditure for homeowners by allowing them to monitor and adjust the home's energy usage.

Read more about Great Green Homes.

Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Energy Star, GREAT GREEN HOMES, Home Design & Plans, Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Sinks & Toilets, Solar Power

Companies: U.S. Department of Energy

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