There is a lot of greenwashing in the home building industry. But the Zero Home unveiled last week by Garbett Homes and Vivint is the real thing. As reported by TechHive, The net-zero home in the Herriman suburb of Salt Lake City uses only as much energy as it produces. What's even more impressive is that it was built for only $150/sf - about the same price it costs to build a conventional home. The property is expected to sell for $400,000, which means you don't have to be a millionaire to afford it - and with energy bills being close to zero, that price tag doesn't seem bad at all.
The Zero Home uses a combination of new construction materials, improved building practices and high-tech infrastructure to achieve remarkable energy efficiency. By using 2×6 studs 24 inches on center instead of 2×4 studs 16 inches on center, the builders made it easier to add foam and fiber insulation to the exterior walls. An extra bead of sealant where each framing member meets provides an incredible level of air-tightness. Plus, the home’s tankless water heaters, high-efficiency HVAC system, double-pane windows filled with argon gas, and Energy Star appliances all help to keep energy demand so low (around 10 kilowatts) that the home can be powered by its 40 roof-mounted solar panels. Because the house is so energy-efficient, the HVAC system runs on stand-by most of the time and kicks on only four or five days out of the dear.
Vivint’s home control system plays a big part in the energy-efficient operation of the house. The home comes equipped with an all-new touchscreen control panel that includes real-time energy analytics. The homeowner can see just how much energy the house is generating and consuming at any given time. By combining the home security and home control systems, Vivint was able to achieve a whole new level of energy monitoring for the homeowner. For example, since the thermostat is tied into the security system, sensors on the doors and windows can send the homeowner a text message if someone left a door or window open, which are not only security threats, but waste energy as well.
The Zero Home is the first to be certified by the International Code Council as net zero in Climate Zone 5. Climate Zone 5 covers Utah and all the states that experience warm summers and cold winters. It also has earned a Home Efficiency Rating System (HERS) rating of zero. The home as a few other certifications under its belt, including US Department of Energy Challenge Home, EPA Indoor Air Plus Home and EPA Energy Star Home.