Vermont-based Vantem Panels, one of the United States’ first producers of SIPs (structural insulated panels) and one of three American producers of urethane panels, has released the first affordable net-zero energy kit homes: SmartHomze.

With an estimated $150 per square foot cost of construction (not including permits, site work, or foundation), SmartHomze are significantly more affordable than typical green homes that range between $200 and $250 per square foot and more in line with construction costs for an average new home that doesn’t include sustainability features.


One of the key energy-saving components of SmartHomze are the urethane foam panels that have a R-6.8 per inch R-Value, the highest of any insulation currently available. Oriented Strand Boards (OSBs) are harvested from sustainably managed forests. The SIP panels can provide homeowners with an additional 72 points for LEED or 242 points for the National Green Building Standard.

While SmartHomze are designed for installation on a pier, they can also be constructed on a slab or conventional foundation and are initially available in five sizes

  • SmartHomze 560 – The Dover – 20’x28’ (560 square feet) one bedroom, one bathroom, with wraparound porch and storage loft
  • SmartHomze 750 – The Bedford – 20’x28’ (750 square feet) one bedroom, one bathroom, with wraparound porch and sleeping or office loft
  • SmartHomze 900 – The Woodstock – 20’x28’ (900 square feet) three bedrooms, one bathroom, with wraparound porch
  • SmartHomze 1200 – The Mason – 28’x32’ (1200 square feet) three bedrooms, two bathrooms, with wraparound porch
  • SmartHomze 1700 – The Sharon – 28’x32’ (1700 square feet) three bedrooms, 2-1/2 bathrooms, with wraparound porch

Kits for net-zero SmartHomze include the materials for the exterior walls (including vinyl or fiber-cement siding, standing-seam metal roofing, triple-glazed R-5+ windows, doors, flooring, HVAC equipment, photovoltaic system, and a heat-recovery ventilator. SmartHomze does not provide for construction, interior partitions, finishes, appliances, cabinets, or plumbing fixtures.

Four sizes of SmartHomez studio models are also available, ranging between 96 and 160 square feet, that are designed for use as home offices, art studios, pool houses, guest accommodations, emergency shelters, or field offices with optional solar PV panels.