At some point, I hope to own a zero energy home. (My wife is not as enthusiastic, so I have some persuading to do). Until then, I will cheerlead for those who are building green. I have previously written about my friend Jerry Unruh’s solar home in Colorado.
Now here’s a very low energy home in Fort Worth. You may have heard of Heather’s Home, which has been featured in numerous media publications and has won lots of awards.
The home’s features are:
- Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
- High Efficiency Heating and Cooling System
- Solar Hot Water System
- Energy Star Doors, Windows, Appliances, Lighting
- Fluorescent and CFL Lighting
- Non VOC Interior Finishes
- Green Sustainable Products – Trim, Countertops, Floor Coverings, Finishes, etc.
- Fiber Cement Siding
- Passive Solar Design
- Proper Shading of Windows and Doors
- Attic Fan for a “Thermo-Siphoning” Effect
- Metal Roof
- Organic Landscaping
- Rainwater Harvesting
I would really like to know more about that heating and cooling system, but I couldn’t find anything on the site. Maybe one of those news articles talks about it. The site says her average heating and cooling bills are expected to be about $15 for this three bedroom, 2,000 square foot house. It can get terribly hot (and humid) in Fort Worth in the summer, so it will be interesting to see how she fares then. I suppose with a couple of solar panels, she may have been able to have a truly zero energy home. That would be an incredible achievement in that climate. I wouldn’t have thought you could do it without being miserable.
You can find a wealth of information on building green, including best practices for various parts of the U.S., on the Department of Energy’s Building America site. Even if you can’t afford to do everything at once, there is a lot of good information on projects that can reduce your energy usage.