Zero Energy Home Project Offers Data for Green Building Industry

The Borrego Springs Zero Energy Demonstration Project consists of four demonstration homes in an extreme desert climate, all of which use a combination of the latest efficient, affordable and innovative zero energy technologies for the purpose of studying their energy efficiency and affordability over the course of one year.

Designed with a goal of 90% energy reduction, the homes are equipped with zero energy technologies such as state-of-the-art wall, cooling and solar electric systems. The data gleaned from the project after one year will be made available to builders, manufacturers and municipalities throughout the U.S. “Innovation is a cornerstone of the green building industry and we believe that by sharing the data from the Borrego Springs, California, project that we can help reduce the time it takes to make new zero energy technologies economically viable for builders,” said John Suppes, founder and president of Clarum Homes, and developer of the program. “With President Bush’s recently announced Advanced Energy Initiative, it’s important now, more than ever, for the industry to come together to drive the adoption of new energy efficient building products,” Suppes added. As part of the Borrego Springs Zero Energy Demonstration Project, the demonstration homes have been built with three different types of wall systems — Styrofoam T-MASS, Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) and High Efficiency 24″ o.c. Optimum Value Engineered (OVE) Wood Framing. In addition to the three wall systems, the homes, which share the same floor plan, were equipped with three different cooling systems: two of the homes feature Speakman 2 stage evaporate coolers; the third home has a Freus water cooled condenser and AC; and the fourth home features a Lennox 20.5 SEER AC. All of the homes feature 3.2 kW Kyocera photovoltaic solar systems and exterior shade screens. “Over the next twelve months, we are confident that the data collected will validate the effectiveness and affordability of the many innovative products utilized in the construction of these demonstration homes,” stated Rob Hammon, PhD, project energy consultant and principal of ConSol. “The test data will be of benefit not only for Zero Energy Home development in extreme desert temperatures like Borrego Springs, but also in more moderate climates around the United States,” said Hammon. Clarum Homes, a zero energy home developer based in California, developed the innovative program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program, ConSol, and Davis Energy Group. ConSol serves as the team leader of the Building Industry Research Alliance (BIRA) for the Department of Energy’s Building America program. The BIRA, the Davis Energy Group (DEG) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will work closely with Clarum and ConSol to evaluate the performance of each of the homes to identify the most cost effective energy features. A special preview tour of the project site for local and regional officials and media will take place on Tuesday, April 25, 2006, in Borrego Springs, California. To read more about the tour, the project or its goals for the demonstration homes, visit the website below.
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