FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Developer Creates a Prototype "Zero Energy Home"

So-called "zero energy homes" have been around for awhile in experimental form.  But now, an Oklahoma-based housing developer has created a prototype that could bring such high-efficiency, environmentally friendly homes into the mainstream housing market.

The builder, Ideal Homes, constructed the house in a suburb of Edmond, Oklahoma.  The house is designed to sell for about $200,000 in a market where an equivalent house using more traditional energy methods would sell for about $125,000.  Ideal Homes is positioning itself to be a leader in new housing construction, perhaps hoping to redefine it the way that William Levitt did in the 1950s

Despite its name, a zero energy house does use energy, and is connected to the power grid.  But through solar cells, ground-source heat pumps, tankless water heaters, sophisticated insulation and architecture that leverages sunlight, a zero energy house can actually generate more energy than it consumes. 

The higher cost of the house may outweigh the energy savings in the short term, but the savings will surely increase as the price of fossil fuels rises.  Plus, if zero energy design becomes the standard for housing construction, costs are certain to fall, making zero energy homes that much more attractive.

Source:  Futurismic

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