zHome is a contemporary, new, townhome development in Issaquah, Washington. The homes go on sale this month and have received national attention, such as in the video embedded below with the Wall Street Journal. Homes in this community will use zero net energy — after considering all energy used and produced during a year — and zHome may just be the first townhome project in the country to achieve such a feat.
KB Home, a publicly-traded home builder with its headquarters in Los Angeles, this month announced the nationwide roll out of net-zero energy home designs called ZeroHouse 2.0. The standard KB Home with Energy Star certification is built to save homeowners about $1,000 in average annual energy costs, while a ZeroHouse 2.0 design is expected to eliminate monthly electricity charges.
Hammer & Hand, a design-build firm based in Portland, is getting well-deserved attention for transforming this circa 1905, dilapidated eyesore into an energy-efficient duplex that uses less than $100 per month in energy. With the help of Scott Edwards Architecture, the team expanded tiny spaces and transformed the lower level to facilitate aging in place.
Florida-based Lighting Science Group (LSG) recently announced a new LED product called Glimpse. The Title 24-compliant downlight is compatible with most 5″ and 6″ recessed cans and can be surface mounted to a J-box as a luminaire. Glimpse is Energy Star qualified in all model types, according to a press release, and provides up to 20% more light than other products on the market with the 750 lumen package.
In an article that’s sure to raise the hackles of the Passive House crowd, Joseph Lstiburek, a principal of Building Science Corporation, says the Passivhaus airtightness requirement — 0.6 ach @ 50 Pa — “doesn’t seem to be based on anything that makes any sense.” He suggests the following: “if you get below 3 ach @ 50 Pa the comfort problems go away, things become predictable, and you save energy. Add the controlled ventilation piece and the combustion safety piece and nobody dies and nobody gets sick and life is good.” In other words, remove large holes in the building envelope, install a controlled ventilation system, and use sealed combustion or power vented appliances.
The Wall Street Journal discusses some of the latest green building practices that help homeowners save energy. The four the author focuses on are blown fiberglass insulation (expensive yet cheaper than spray foam), heat pump water heaters (pricey systems that use heat from the air), electronic monitors (gadgets to cut unneeded energy usage), and concrete countertops (an affordable local surface option). Read the article: