The first of 237 homes are under construction at the largest net zero energy ready community in the country in Austin, Texas.
Taurus Investment Holdings is behind the $2 billion master-planned development that features community loop geothermal heating and cooling, smart home technology, energy-efficient appliances and solar-ready construction.
The first neighborhood, called Whisper Rising, features homes built by Avi Homes and Pacesetter Homes with prices ranging from the upper $100,000s to $300,000s. Construction has begun on on about 30 homes ranging in size from 1,200 to 3,100 square feet. The builders are currently taking reservations from homebuyers for the first 237 homes.
Every home will have access to EcoSmart’s energy delivery program and super-fast Google Fiber internet service.
With the thermal energy supply system, all of the homes will be capable of achieving the carbon-neutral standard promoted by the city of Austin for all new construction homes, according to Douglas Gilliland, president of Taurus of Texas.
As the first Google Fiber master-planned community, Whisper Valley will have 1GB Internet, providing residents with fast connections and unlimited capacity. Other elements of the EcoSmart program include Google Nest, which provides smart home technology. The community will use Rehau piping for the geothermal loop system in conjunction with the Bosch heat pump for heating and cooling to eliminate outdoor noise from the traditional compressors.
Whisper Valley homeowners will incur no upfront costs for the geothermal system, as the ground loop infrastructure is pre-installed throughout the community. Homeowners will receive an extended warranty and no maintenance costs for the first three years. Their energy costs will be fixed at approximately $175 a month, which covers the costs of the geothermal infrastructure equipment, a solar PV system, LED-lighting package, appliances, and other technologies, and includes maintenance service.
With a combined geothermal-solar system, Bosch said many buildings can achieve zero net energy status, and a homeowner’s utility-supplied energy use will be minimal to none as they return excess solar-generated energy to the grid. The savings in utility electricity costs can be equal to or greater than the monthly ESS energy fee. The EcoSmart program delivers the value of energy efficient technologies without requiring upfront costs for the homeowner or builder.
Read more about sustainable communities.