A company in Asheville, North Carolina is taking prefabricated home design to a new level with their Renew Collection of affordable net-zero energy houses. While Deltec made a name for themselves with round hurricane-resistant homes, now the company has amped up the energy efficiency by two thirds with their latest home collection, in response to the increasing demand for net-zero energy housing. And these new 'Renew' homes aren't just super energy efficient -- they generate their own energy with photovoltaic solar power and solar water heating, and are surprisingly affordable, with kits starting under 100K. There are currently 9 new models in the Renew Collection, each designed to satisfy a variety of different needs and tastes.
Deltec Homes was founded in 1968 in Asheville, North Carolina as a builder of hurricane-resistant homes – primarily for resort communities. When visitors to those coastal resorts kept contacting the company to build custom round homes for them, they decided to transition into residential development, rebranding in 1985.
We’ve covered why round homes are wind and seismic resistant here: the round shape with obtuse angles is structurally more stable, with better wind and load resistance than a rectangular shape. Factory-precise prefabrication with tightly engineered beams and joints also make Deltec’s round homes sturdy and more high-performance than a traditional stick-built home. Learn more about why Deltec’s homes are better equipped to handle strong winds in the video below.
Seeing an increasing demand for energy-efficient homes, Deltec decided to launch a collection of net-zero passive homes with a smaller energy footprint, called the Renew Collection. In order to achieve net-zero energy independence, these homes have not only active photovoltaic solar power – but each house is designed with passive solar principles in mind in order to create a home with very small energy demands.
The Renew Collection makes use of traditional passive design concepts such as tight building envelope, high-performance insulation, solar home orientation, natural ventilation and solar shading, to minimize heat solar heat gain in the summer, and to maximize insulation and solar heat gain in the winter. With very low energy needs, the Renew Homes can be completely powered through a photovoltaic solar array, thus achieving Net Zero energy.
Deltec’s ‘Solar Homestead’ – designed and produced in collaboration with Appalachian State University. This innovative Solar Home competed in the 2011 Solar Decathlon. Inhabitat previously covered this design here and here.
We’re extra excited to see that Deltec teamed up with Appalachian State University to mass-produce their award-winning Solar Decathlon home design, which we covered in 2011. This innovative solar home design is now available as part of the Renew Collection starting at around $75K for the bare-bones home shell.
In order to achieve net-zero energy, the nine prefabricated Renew house models can be equipped with a solar hot water heater and solar electric kit that makes it easy for homeowners to install a photovoltaic array. Depending on where the home is erected, it may be possible to sell excess power back to the grid, essentially resulting in a plus-energy home. Further adding to their eco-credentials, Deltec Homes prefabricates all of their houses in factories that are 100 percent powered by clean energy and diverts an average of 80 percent of construction waste from the landfill. A big plus for home-owners is the ability to have their house constructed in a matter of days. Watch one of the Deltec homes go up in two days, in the video below:
A variety of extras are available in the Renew Collection, including pre-painted siding, porch and deck packages and pre-installed windows. Even with the new upgrades, costs run at roughly $150 to $200 per square foot for a completed Deltec Home. While this may not be attainable for all people, existing homeowners may be kicking themselves right about now, especially since the house of the future will almost certainly be expected to achieve this kind of superior energy independence.
Deltec Homes can ship a shell of one of their prefab houses anywhere in the world, leaving a lot of room for creativity once it reaches its final destination. Some homeowners may choose to complete the buildout themselves or hire a local builder to do it for them. With the new efficiency standards in place – achieved with passive solar design, an air-tight envelope, and double the required insulation – Deltec Homes are said to require two thirds less energy than a comparable conventional stick-built house.
Deltec constantly works to improve their designs, which come with two floor plan options for each model (except for the Ridgeline Home model, above, which has four, with a footprint of up to 2126 square feet for those looking for a more substantial living space), and the company strives to add three new models to their repertoire each year. They pride themselves on durable houses constructed with the highest quality materials, offering the choice of a round, modern or traditional design (their classic round home model has a self-supporting roof system and zero load bearing walls, creating more flexibility with the floor plan).
The company has also just achieved B Corp certification, an honor given to select organizations who have met the highest level of verified social and environmental performance, and to those using their influence for social and environmental good. “The true measure of our success goes beyond a profit,” said Steve Linton, president of Deltec Homes. “We’re so proud to be the first in our industry to receive B Corp Certification and we hope it encourages others to soon follow.”