Eco Performance Builders is Building a Zero Net Energy Home in Oakland

Eco Performance Builders is building a new Zero Net Energy home in the Oakland Hills and we are really excited about it.  What is a Zero Net Energy (ZNE) home?  Well, in this case it is a home that won’t have utility charged electricity or gas.  How are we going to do this?  We will make the house very efficient and install enough solar panels to offset the minimal usage it will have throughout the year.  The house will still be connected to PG&E but will give enough electricity back to them to offset the usage.  The address is 11 Jewell Ct, Oakland, Ca.  As owners of Eco Performance Builders, we – Scott and Keith O’Hara – actually started building high quality, low energy, comfortable, and durable homes in the 90′s.  Since then, we started the great Home Performance Retrofit company Eco Performance Builders. Now we have the knowledge, experience, equipment, and personnel to start new builds again while putting real Home Performance to work

It is going to be a 2-story, 2700 square foot home on the canyon side near Skyline Blvd in the Oakland / Montclair hills in a quiet, safe neighborhood. It will feature an elegant interior with all of the luxuries expected in a custom Oakland Hills home.  Construction should be completed in May 2014 and listed for sale in June.

11 Jewell Ct. Oakland, CA

11 Jewell Ct, Oakland, CA

Our advanced computer energy modeling system and our past experience allows us to size a solar voltaic system on the roof that will provide enough energy back to the utility to zero out the bills for the year.  Normally a home this size wouldn’t have a roof large enough to support the amount of solar it would need to even support half of it’s energy needs.  Because we are using Home Performance to engineer and build this house we are able to reduce the heating and cooling loads dramatically when compared to other new homes.  For instance, the heating system is all electric (heat pump) and will use less energy than is used by a standard hair dryer!  That is less than 1500 watts to heat your entire 2700 square foot home with optimum, guaranteed comfort.  This is possible because of the perfectly installed insulation, engineered and perfectly installed HVAC system and our ability to make them work together.  We are also using LED lighting, a induction cooktop, and a heat pump water heater to keep those demands down.

Here are some great parts of the house:

Heat pump heating system.  This is about as simple as it gets folks.  A heat pump is over 300% efficient, all ducts will be in conditioned space, the system will have minimal static pressure, will be virtually silent and will have  high filtration MERV 10 filters which only cost $10-15 per replacement.  Also, the home will have the luxury of having Air Conditioning for any warm days in the summer because the heat pump is also an AC, still at $0 operating cost.

HRV Ventilation System. There will be a separate ventilation system that will bring in filtered outside air and remove wet dirty air from inside.  The HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation) transfers most of the heat from the inside air exiting to the outside air entering to optimize heat losses.  This, and the homes low infiltration rate, brings us optimum, controlled air quality.

Cellulose filled walls.  We will use wet wall cellulose  for insulation, which is actually an old, tried-and-true way of insulating houses for efficiency.   We spray on non-toxic cellulose wet and shave it off to make a perfect application of wall insulation.  The reason we do this is because it is almost impossible to install fiberglass batts perfectly in walls (even for us!). It is not toxic like spray foams and it works very well.

Cellulose insulated attic.  The cellulose insulation will be blown in the attic after all of the air sealing is completed and the drywall is in place.  We always blow attics “stabilized” which means we blow it in damp so it doesn’t make dust, which makes it possible to see what you are doing, it gets into all of the gaps and it doesn’t settle.

Conditioned crawlspace.  The crawlspace will be lined with a 15 mil vapor barrier and will be unventilated.  The vapor barrier makes it unnecessary to have vents which makes your crawlspace part of your conditioned house, which improves air quality and minimizes heat loss (especially when the ducts are there!).

Hot Water.  A heat pump water heater will be used to make hot water efficiently, which is supplemented by the Solar Electric system. Our hot water piping system is engineered with the on demand hot water circulation system to minimize cold water waste and wait time at hot water fixtures.  Our goal is one to two cups of water per fixture before hot water pours out of the faucet. This is possible because the water heater will only be using the circulation pump when you ask for hot water.

Low VOC paints.  All paint used will be low VOC (volatile organic compounds) to further guarantee better air quality.

Durable Construction We build homes to look and feel elegant and to last the test of time.  From waterproofing to finish carpentry, we are experts in all fields, even the phases which are performed by any necessary subcontractors.

From the best quality construction, great design, high performance aspects, great location, Zero Energy bill guarantee, simple low maintenance systems, ultimate air quality, and the perfect comfort; this home will be as good as it gets.

Currently the foundation is complete and the framing has started.  For a tour or more information, please give us a call or email.




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