The Department of Energy (DOE) is celebrating the groundbreaking this week of one of the nation’s first zero energy homes (ZEH) – a home that produces all the energy it uses on an annual basis.Tucson, Arizona – November 6, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The home is being built by Arizona builder John Wesley Miller, who will open the Tucson-area construction site of his zero energy home to members of the building industry, the media and the general public. The National Association of Home Builders Research Center will be conducting the evaluation of the performance of the home. The zero energy home is part of a national initiative that is funded by the Department of Energy through its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. The primary goal of the initiative is to introduce the ZEH concept into the mainstream home building industry. The Tucson home is part of The John Wesley Miller Companies’ Armory Park del Sol community, in which the homes average daily electricity costs less than a dollar a day for heating and cooling through a partnership with Tucson Electric Power and Global Solar Energy. “This is the future for the American home,” said David Garman, DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Solar energy technologies are affordable and practical today. Combined with off-the-shelf energy efficiency products and proven construction techniques, solar energy can make houses zero net users of electricity, while staying competitively priced.” A zero energy home combines state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction and appliances with commercially available, Renewable Energy systems. With its reduced energy needs and solar energy systems, a ZEH can return as much energy as it takes from the utility grid on an annual basis. The Armory Park del Sol ZEH makes extensive use of active and passive solar systems. Tucson Electric Power will run the home’s meter backward and credit homeowners when they put power back into the grid. The Armory Park del Sol subdivision is one of four zero energy home projects comprising a national initiative administered by DOE through its National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Researchers at NREL are working with four home building teams to introduce the zero energy home concept into the single-family, new home construction industry.