A group of solar energy companies and energy efficiency manufacturers have constructed a modular house in Washington to demonstrate the application of a ‘zero energy’ home.
WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-04-24 <SolarAccess.com> The ‘Solar Patriot’ was constructed on The Mall, near the White House and Congress, in advance of the Solar Energy Forum 2001 and Earth Day. The $100,000 two story house will be dismantled after the event and shipped to Virginia. “At a time when many Americans are experiencing rolling brownouts and shocking electric and natural gas bills, the modular building industry can provide homeowners with affordable and livable residences without fear of power shutoffs or energy price fluctuations,” says Don Bradley of Solar Strategies, Inc. and a builder of solar homes for 15 years. The company partnered with national solar energy and energy efficiency manufacturers, component suppliers and modular home manufacturers to provide homes with energy bills below $600 per year. The house features a solar thermal water heater by Duke Solar, solar PV roofing shingles by Baekert-ECD, traditional solar electric panels by BP Solar, and interconnection and inverters by Xantrex. The house also features advanced energy efficiency features including double-pane windows, and R-21 insulation in the walls and R-38 in the ceiling. Solar Strategies announced its intentions to market modular homes with integrated energy efficiency and solar technologies across the U.S. this year. Bekaert ECD Solar Systems LLC sells flexible solar roofing products under the UNI-SOLAR brand, and the company is expanding its production capacity from 5 to 25 MW per year at a new plant in Michigan. The company claims it will be the largest thin-film, solar-panel manufacturing facility in the world. “Solid research and development at the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Lawrence Berkeley Labs and in the private sector have brought solar energy strategies and equipment to the level where they’re market-ready and available now,” says Helen English, head of the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council and chair of the solar event. “Strategies like passive solar design, building integrated photovoltaics, wind power, geothermal energy, and fuel cells can significantly reduce demand while saving businesses and consumers 30, 40, 50 percent or more on their energy bills.”