Old and New in a Zero Energy Casita

ZeroEnergyCasita - Front With Porch

Recently, we had to opportunity to talk with Don Ferrier about the progress of a home called the Zero Energy Casita.  Ferrier, president of Ferrier Custom Homes, started building earth-sheltered homes 25 years ago and has the distinct accomplishment of building the first LEED Platinum home in Texas.  In this net zero energy beauty, Ferrier is building a home that generates as much energy in the course of a year as it consumes. 

ZeroEnergyCasita - Progress

The 1,015 square-foot home was built with a combination of SIPs and advanced framing techniques.  The tight envelope, careful placement of windows, and extreme insulation contribute to a 30 on the E-Scale (not counting on-site energy).

Of course, the Zero Energy Casita will generate some energy on-site.  A 3.7 kW Skystream wind turbine is being installed on a 45-foot pole on a 90-foot hill nearby.  The turbine will finish up where energy-efficient design left off.

With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the casita also has high-performance windows, a durable metal roof, a tankless water heater, an air filtration system, siding and flooring from an 80-year old barn, dual-flush toilets, PEX plumbing, low-flow plumbing fixtures, Energy Star appliances, native landscaping, and no- and low-VOC paints. 

Located on Eagle Mountain Lake in the Fort Worth Area, this home should be complete within 6-8 weeks.  The reclaimed siding will get a red wash by that time, and Ferrier Custom Homes will have tours in March.  Keep your eyes on the website, Zero Energy Casita.

ZeroEnergyCasita - Side With Porch

ZeroEnergyCasita - Side

ZeroEnergyCasita

ZeroEnergyCasita - RearView

Photo credits: Ferrier Custom Homes and Zero Energy Casita.


  • http://www.postgreenhomes.com Chad Ludeman

    Wondering about more specifics on their construction. What size SIPs did they use? Foundation insulation amounts? Did they use the triple pane windows?

    Love the reclaimed barn siding.

    • Anonymous

      To answer your questions:
      *We used 6 1/2″ SIP walls and 10 1/4 SIPs for the roof.
      *We did not employ any foundation insulation on the project; working alongside Building America, building science parametric studies show that it’s just not justified in our hot climate.
      *The windows are double pane, Energy Star, Low-E with an ultra high efficiency Zoe 5 window glazing system (www.zoeshield.com).

      Hope this helps!

      • http://www.postgreenhomes.com Chad Ludeman

        This helps, thanks! Forgoing foundation insulation is interesting, but I guess it makes sense. The direct contact with the cool earth beneath would naturally cool your home. Nice work and thanks for following up with more details.

  • Anonymous

    I believe you could make virtually “every” home a Zero energy home using the “geo-air” technology Russ Finch is using in his sub-zero home, workshop and greenhouse. His “Citrus In The Snow” website is most informative.

    This stuff is the most practical green energy source I’ve seen and no wonder USDA has finally jumped on it. Nice….

  • http://mportlandrealestate.com/ Portland Condo Auctions

    It looks like such a rustic little cabin. You would never know that its brand new inside and has all of those amazing green features.

    -Tyler

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