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Home > Feature Articles > Sustainable Development Best Practices for Community Sustainability

Zero Energy Home (ZEH) technologies in the new home market

Zero energy homes in Southern California are demonstrated by Clarum Homes which built four almost zero energy homes in Borrego Springs, a desert location northeast of San Diego.

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Green Home Construction with Zero Energy Homes (ZEH) Reduce Energy and Water Costs

Zero Energy Homes (ZEH)are connected to the utility grid, combine highly energy-efficient design and technology with solar electric and thermal systems to produce as much energy as they use on an annual basis, resulting in net zero energy consumption.

This green home construction uses a mix of products, systems and techniques make sense for individual construction projects as well as large-scale developments. As green building becomes more mainstream and is injected into the early design process, costs associated with green building will continue to fall.

Green Home Construction with Superior Insulation

Through the use of superior insulation, ENERGY STAR-certified windows and appliances, ground source heat pumps, solar hot water, photovoltaic systems and renewable energy credits, the emerging energy-efficient home design's goal is to eliminate carbon emissions from home energy use.

Green Home Energy Efficiency Technologies

As energy costs continue to rise, a number of energy-efficiency improvements in appliances, building envelopes, windows and mechanical systems are moving into the market.

Solar electric (photovoltaic) system costs continue to decline

Solar water heating designs are developing that will reduce costs and improve efficiency.

In Southern California, Clarum Homes built four demonstration homes in Borrego Springs, a desert location 85 miles northeast of San Diego. The homes are designed to use 90 percent less energy than conventional homes and employ highly insulating wall systems and high-efficiency cooling systems. The homes feature 3.2-kilowatt solar power systems, instantaneous water heaters, and exterior shade screens, and three of the homes are equipped with under-floor radiant heating. The project was developed through a partnership with the DOE's Building America Program, ConSol, and the Davis Energy Group. The homes will be tested for energy efficiency continuously over the next year and the information will be shared with other builders, manufacturers, and municipalities throughout the country.

State and Federal Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy Systems

State and federal tax incentives for renewable energy systems Zero Energy Home technologies in the new home market

There's a growing sense that a new era for energy efficiency is unfolding due to strains on supply systems, energy prices that show no sign of returning to low levels, and a heightened sense of urgency on global warming. There is a new and growing commitment to energy efficiency across the U.S.

Energy Efficient Design Technologies

To support energy efficient design a wide variety of techniques, technologies and systems are being explored and developed, including:

  • Strawbale Construction
  • Earthen Floors and Plasters
  • Slate Roofing
  • Straw Clay Infill
  • Log Cabin Construction
  • Cordwood
  • Cob
  • Timberframing
  • Solar & Wind Energy
  • Bamboo
  • Monolithic Stone Raising
  • International Green Building
  • Thatching
  • Humanure
  • "End of Suburbia"
  • Building Codes
  • Sustainability
  • Permaculture

    RESOURCES:

    FindSolar.com
    is an online directory that links home and small business owners around the country to qualified solar energy system installers serving their area. The web site also gives consumers a place to estimate costs and output of solar systems for hot water, electricity and pool or spa heating. Findsolar.com is a joint partnership between the American Solar Energy Society, Solar Electric Power Association, Energy Matters LLC and the U.S. Department of Energy. For no charge, listed installers receive instant email notification of sales leads that are targeted to match their company's capabilities and geographic area.

    Electric Power Research Institute
    3420 Hillview Ave
    Palo Alto, CA 94304
    tel: 800-313-3774
    tel: 650-855-2121
    my.epri.com

    American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) 1001 Connecticut Ave NW Ste 801
    Washington, DC 20036
    tel: 202-429-8873
    www.aceee.org

    NAHB Research Center
    400 Prince George's Blvd
    Upper Marlboro, MD 20774-8731
    t: 301-249-4000
    t: 800-638-8556
    www.nahbrc.org
    The NAHB Research Center, wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders, is the research and development leader in the home building industry.

    National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
    1617 Cole Blvd
    Golden, CO 80401
    t: 303-275-3000
    t: 303-275-4090
    www.nrel.gov The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the DOE's primary laboratory for renewable energyand energy efficiency research and development.

    Edison Electric Institute
    701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20004
    tel: 202-508-5000
    www.eei.org
    Association of shareholder-owned electric companies. Provides information about EEI products, services, meetings; electric utility industry

    Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
    40 W 20th St
    New York, NY 10011
    t: 212-727-2700
    www.nrdc.org
    The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a New York City-based, non-profit with an office in Santa Monica and San Francisco



    Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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