News Release: High Performance House Showcased at Builders Show

Jan. 20, 2004

Golden, Colo. — Homebuilders attending the 2004 International Builders' Show in Las Vegas can tour a new kind of home—a highly energy-efficient Zero Energy Home that will produce as much electricity as it uses over the course of a year.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) partnered with Pardee Homes and energy consultant ConSol to introduce the Zero Energy Home concept with this single-family custom home at the Nevada Trails master-planned community.

A Zero Energy Home combines renewable energy technologies with advanced energy-efficient construction. Like almost all homes, a Zero Energy Home is connected to the utility grid. Because the home produces about as much energy as it consumes during a year, it is considered to achieve "net zero" energy consumption.

Called the Ultimate Family Home, the 5,300-square-foot custom home was built by Pardee Homes and designed by Bassenian/Lagoni Architects. The National Association of Home Builders selected it to serve as a show home for the annual builders' convention and show in partnership with Builder Magazine and Home Magazine.

"The Ultimate Family Home shows that energy efficiency and solar energy can be incorporated into attractive homes that come with all of the features homebuyers are looking for," said Tim Merrigan, Zero Energy Homes program manager at NREL.

The location of the 2004 show—Las Vegas—is ideal for building a Zero Energy Home powered by the southwestern sun. Solar cells on the rooftop provide electricity, and a solar hot water system heats the home's water. A highly efficient air conditioning system combined with good insulation, air sealing and advanced windows keeps the home comfortable. The home will use 90% less energy than a similar home built strictly to code.

Pardee already constructs all of its homes to exceed Energy Star® standards through the ComfortWiseSM program developed by ConSol. By joining DOE and NREL in the Zero Energy Homes initiative, Pardee is among a small group of homebuilders across the nation that are changing the way new homes are built.

"The Ultimate Family Home combines comfort and value with environmental sensitivity and real, measurable savings," Rob Hammon of ConSol said.

DOE started the Zero Energy Homes initiative to bring the latest research out of its national laboratories and into homes. NREL scientists and engineers are working with four teams to introduce the Zero Energy Homes concept into the single-family, new-home construction industry. In addition to ConSol (Stockton, Calif.), the teams include Davis Energy Group (Davis, Calif.), NAHB Research Center (Upper Marlboro, Md.), and Steven Winter Associates (Norwalk, Conn.).

Other Zero Energy Homes projects in the region include Clarum Homes' Vista Montana community in Watsonville, Calif., Morrison Homes' Lakeside community in Elk Grove, Calif., and the Armory Park del Sol neighborhood, built by John Wesley Miller Companies in Tucson, Ariz.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's premier laboratory for renewable energy research and development and a leading laboratory for energy efficiency R&D. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.

—Sarah Barba