Last October, LifeStyle Homes announced our acceptance of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) challenge to build a “Zero-Energy Ready Home.” Over the past months, we have been brainstorming with the Florida Solar Energy Center scientists to determine the smartest and most cost-effective way to achieve the program’s tough building requirements.
Today, with building strategies determined, the home site selected, the plans engineered, and building permit in hand, we are finally ready to break ground on this remarkable home!
So, what makes this home so remarkable?
In a nutshell, the Zero-Energy Ready Home program represents the next generation of home building. It embodies the DOE’s scientifically tested methods to achieve the highest standards of energy-efficiency, indoor air quality, and superior performance, and design to allow homes built to these standards to last hundreds of years. And while LifeStyle Homes has successfully built multiple solar-powered zero-energy homes already, this particular home will aim to be as energy-efficient as possible BEFORE the solar system is added.
All that said, you can bet that building a Zero-Energy Ready Home is no easy feat. In order for the DOE to certify this home as a true Zero-Energy Ready Home, it must meet the following requirements:
- Comply with ENERGY STAR for homes and the Inspection Checklists for thermal enclosure, HVAC quality installation (contractor and HERS rater), and water management.
- Feature energy-efficient appliances and fixtures that are ENERGY STAR qualified.
- Use high-performance windows that meet ENERGY STAR specifications.
- Meet 2012 International Energy Conservation Code levels for insulation.
- Follow the latest proven research recommendations by installing ducts in conditioned space.
- Provide comprehensive indoor air quality through full certification in EPA’s Indoor airPlus Program.
- Accomplish savings on the cost of future solar installations by following provisions from the Consolidated Renewable Energy Ready Home (RERH) checklist for climates with significant solar insolation. This checklist references EPA’s solar electric guide and the solar thermal systems guide.
So as you can see, we at LifeStyle Homes have our work cut out for us. We invite you to drive through Pineda Springs to check out the progress of this special home as it’s built. And of course, we’ll keep you updated on all the home’s milestones on this blog.