TUCSON, AZ — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) joined a groundbreaking ceremony for one of the nation’s first zero energy homes (ZEH). The home is being built by a local builder, John Wesley Miller, who will open the Tucson-area construction site to members of the building industry, the media, and the general public. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center will be conducting the evaluation of the performance of the home.

According to the DOE, a zero energy home combines state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction and appliances with commercially available, renewable energy systems. With its reduced energy needs and solar energy systems, a ZEH can return as much energy as it takes from the utility grid on an annual basis.

The ZEH is part of a national initiative that is funded by the DOE through its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO. The primary goal of the initiative is to introduce the ZEH concept into the mainstream home building industry.

The Tucson home is part of The John Wesley Miller Companies’ Armory Park del Sol community, in which the homes use an average of less than a dollar a day for heating and cooling through a partnership with Tucson Electric Power and Global Solar Energy. The home makes extensive use of active and passive solar systems. Tucson Electric Power will run the home’s meter backward and credit homeowners when they put power back into the grid.

Publication date: 11/25/2002