Jun 3, 2008

near zero-energy house in northern virginia

its the worst of times for established home builders and the best of times for new and emerging construction companies.

My rational behind that statement? its the worst of times for established home builders as they sit on huge inventories of houses built the conventional way and the only way for them to move that inventory is to slash their prices (and hence their profits), its the best of time for new builders as they can buy land on the cheap and hop on the green building bandwagon. As long as they can deliver a product that is designed with all or some of the zero-energy mantras, they can fetch a premium for it, in many cases even if the house isn't in a desirable school district.

I have been interested in green building and zero energy houses for sometime now, a while back I came across a near zero energy house that has been built in Purcellville, Virginia. Thought about it again when I started looking for green houses (the zero-energy green) in northern Virginia, I didn't find many, Virginia legislature is in dire need to move swiftly on some green energy incentives for home builders, so that we can come shoulder to shoulder with other states that have advanced much further in that area (case in point California).

The house in Purcellville is still one of the very few well documented near zero energy houses even though it was built in 2001, its interesting because the Department of energy has also done a study on this house, you can access this report here.

The other great aspect about this project is the willingness of the owner, Alden Hathaway to share his own experience about the project which he funded himself (so he is under no obligation to share) you can checkout the Family's perspective (who lives in this house) in this youTube footage.

Department of energy finds it a good model though based on the energy usage recorded at the house, the report suggests the household would have been better off with an 8 KW solar system rather then the 6 KW system that they presently have due to their use of computers and other gadgets.

Alden Hathaway has also written a book titled "Building an Affordable Solar Home" you can download the entire book in pdf format here.


Adam Prince said...

For those folks who desire the benefits of Alden's home (meaning zero net energy on an annual basis) and would like the help of a professional firm, it's what we specialize in. We offer two services the first of which is the custom design of a home with all it's systems, and the second is the modification of an existing design to achieve net-zero performance. I realize that this post is a bit self serving, but at the same time we are one of the few firms in the country for which zero energy is our specialty.


Faraz Yusufi said...

I talked to paragon homes: http://www.paragonhomes.org/ they are working with department of energy for bringing 20 near-zero energy homes to Ashburn, Virgina , according to the spoke person they are ready with a team and have all the approvals, they are in the last stages of talks for financing for there model home, if everything goes according to plan then they might be doing ground breaking as early as next week.