First 'Zero Energy Home' Goes Up

LIVERMORE, CA — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that the first home in the nation to be built under its new “Zero Energy Homes” program is scheduled to be completed soon. The DOE and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have joined with Davis Energy Group and Centex Homes to construct the home in the Los Olivos development here in Livermore.

A Zero Energy Home is designed to combine solar energy technologies with advanced energy-efficient construction. Like almost all homes, it is connected to the utility grid. But because the goal is to produce as much energy as it consumes, the home is considered to achieve “net-zero” energy consumption. (See related story in The News, July 22, 2002, page 5.)

The house in Livermore “clearly demonstrates that state-of-the-art solar energy features can be incorporated into attractive and practical homes,” said Tim Merrigan, Zero Energy Homes program manager at NREL.

Davis Energy Group, Davis, CA, a company specializing in energy-efficient technology development, and Centex Corp., a residential builder in northern California, will market the new model as the “21st Century Performance Home.” The house features a solar electric system, solar water heater, high-efficiency windows, and radiant barriers. The home is also a test bed for a ventilation cooling system developed under a California Energy Commission (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) project.

The house also is a showcase for green building practices. Centex has used the project to develop green building guidelines in cooperation with Alameda County.

Publication date: 08/05/2002

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