ATLANTA — PulteGroup Inc. announced it has completed construction of its zero net energy (ZNE) home prototype in Northern California. The new Pulte home, which is designed to generate as much energy as it uses, will be monitored for 12 months to evaluate its performance and identify opportunities for future enhancements.

“PulteGroup’s Zero Net Energy prototype is at the forefront of innovation. It has the potential to dramatically reduce overall energy use to benefit homeowners and the broader environment,” said Ryan Marshall, president of PulteGroup. “Our goal for this prototype is to help define the most efficient path to building more energy efficient homes that effectively balance constructability, cost, and quality.”

The Pulte ZNE home prototype aligns with California’s long-term zero net energy goals by leveraging advanced design, construction, and on-site renewable energy solutions. The home’s design combines airtight building methods, highly efficient HVAC, water heating, insulation and more, along with on-site solar energy production to offset the home’s greatly reduced energy consumption.

Pulte is the largest builder to participate in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) Zero Net Energy Production Builder Demonstration program aimed at building new homes that maximize utility grid load reduction. PG&E’s demonstration program supports California’s energy efficiency and climate goals that all new residential construction to be zero net energy by 2020.

“Participating in this program allows PulteGroup to test the technologies that can reduce overall energy use, while also determining the construction practices needed to deliver these homes with superior quality, at high volumes, and in a cost efficient manner,” said Marshall. “Making our homes more energy efficient helps to shrink their carbon footprint and makes them less expensive to own and operate.”

A ZNE home is designed with the goal of producing as much energy as it uses during a year. To cope with fluctuations in demand, ZNE homes are typically connected to the grid, exporting electricity when there is a surplus, and drawing electricity when not enough is being produced.

The prototype, in Botanica by Pulte Homes in Brentwood, will be monitored for a year after it is sold. The prototype allows Pulte and its partners to measure and analyze the home’s energy performance, actual cost savings, and the impact on the energy grid.

By working with its building partners, said Steve Kalmbach, president of the company’s Northern California Division, PulteGroup is driving continuous improvements to reduce incremental costs and deliver the best technological solutions to consumers. Some of the partners involved in the build include: Lennox (HVAC equipment); Rinnai (tankless water heater); Owens Corning (insulation products); and SolarCity (photovoltaic system).

“Overall energy performance and consumption will be evaluated to assess construction technology and help guide best practices for the company in building more energy efficient homes,” Kalmbach said. “Not only will the prototype seek improvements through energy use tracking and analysis, but Pulte is also seeking consumer feedback to develop design improvements to meet future homebuyer needs.”

PulteGroup, based in Atlanta, is one of America’s largest homebuilding companies with operations in approximately 50 markets throughout the country.

For more information on the Pulte zero net energy home prototype, click here.

Publication date: 6/24/2016

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!