Energy Secretary Kicks Off Clean Buildings Tour

Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman kicked off the “Energizing America for Energy Security” Tour with a visit to Habitat for Humanity’s first “true net-zero energy home” to highlight the need to improve energy efficiency, a key component of President Bush’s National Energy Policy (NEP). The NEP calls for using energy wisely by increasing energy conservation and efficiency.

“Increasing energy efficiency is a critical element of the comprehensive energy legislation now before Congress,” said Secretary Bodman. “The Habitat for Humanity Zero Energy Home is a glimpse into the future of home construction in America. Inefficient buildings and homes waste a tremendous amount of energy. Home energy efficiency can save families money by reducing energy consumption.” The highly energy-efficient “true net-zero energy” home is being built by Habitat for Humanity for Ms. Amy Whalen and her two sons, Orlando, 6, and Angelo, 4, with technical assistance from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America Program and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. Ms. Whalen and her sons have lived in subsidized housing for several years. “Our current home is drafty and cold and my energy bills have been outrageous,” noted Ms. Whalen. “It’s been such a struggle to pay the monthly bill. I’ve really had to cut corners on other spending to manage it.” The typical American family spends an estimated $1,500 a year on home energy bills. The zero energy Habitat home is designed to produce as much energy as it consumes. This home will consume less than half as much energy as an equivalent home built with standard features. The remaining energy needs will be met with the solar electric and hot water systems. The home will be super-insulated, very tightly constructed and designed for passive solar gain to reduce heating loads. A heat-recovery ventilation system will assure indoor air quality while recovering ventilation air thermal energy. The home will be equipped with a solar water heating system and solar panels to provide four kilowatts of electricity. The grid-connected photovoltaic array is sized to produce excess energy in the summer to balance out winter consumption, leading to net zero annual energy consumption. Habitat will adopt many of the techniques used in this home into its standard construction practices for future homes. DOE recently released summer energy tips to improve energy efficiency in existing structures, available online at the following link:
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