Zero Net Energy Home Build Completed!

 

ZNE Home

We have completed our ZNE (Zero Net Energy) build in the Montclair Hills.  We are very excited about this build because it is the culmination of everything we have learned from decades of building and retrofitting homes.  We have put our heart and soul into it and made it the best performing, and best looking, home we have ever seen.  We are so confident in the performance that we giving a zero bill guarantee for three years!  If there is an energy usage bill, we will pay it.  This is the first time, that we know of, where a builder has done this.  We hope that in the future, more builders will take this path and back the work that they have done.

We’re not the only ones excited about it, SFgate wrote an article on it. Read the article here.

Scott and Keith O’Hara, owners of Eco Performance Builders, have partnered with renowned mechanical engineer, Glenn Friedman, Principal at Taylor Engineering.  Glenn has been a long time friend, colleague, and business partner with the O’Hara brothers.  He is at the top of his field and has had great impact on our goals, design, and implementation of the build.  Glenn, the former president of the ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America), has set the standards for commercial and residential HVAC system design.  For us to be able to design and install with his input is yet another reason why this house is so great.  To have someone like Glenn on this project is an honor for all of us at EPB.

From time of the purchase of the land to build on we knew we were going for a true ZNE home.  Then we started discussing, designing and building it.  We are all very excited to see how great it looks and works!  The new owners have moved in and they are thrilled to be living there.

Here are the details about the home:

It is a  2-story, 2780 square foot home on the canyon side near Skyline Blvd in the Oakland / Montclair hills in a quiet, safe neighborhood. It features an elegant interior with all of the luxuries expected in a custom Oakland Hills home. The home has three full baths, an awesome light-filled “great-room” with soaring ceilings, slab quartzite counter tops , a radius stone island, an induction cook top, a Zephyr range hood, a fireplace, a 2 car attached garage, oak hardwood floors, bamboo cabinetry, a Zeriscape front garden and serene canyon views.

 

11 Jewel DR 2 MLS

Our advanced computer energy modeling system and our past experience allowed 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 would not 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 used Home Performance and Building Science concepts to engineer and build this house we were able to reduce the heating and cooling loads (needs) dramatically when compared to other new homes. This is the right strategy for making a home Zero Net Energy (ZNE).

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, energy efficiency appliances and a heat pump water heater to keep those demands down.

  The design phase of this home was much more elaborate than the standard custom home.  Every detail of the heating, cooling, ventilation, insulation, and air barrier systems were designed to work perfectly with one another and all of the features and inhabitants of the home.

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High Performance Design  The design phase of this home was much more elaborate than the standard custom home.  Every detail of the heating, cooling, ventilation, insulation, and air barrier systems were designed to work perfectly with one another and all of the features and inhabitants of the home.

Heat pump heating and cooling system.  A heat pump is over 300% efficient, all ducts are in conditioned space, the system has minimal static pressure, is virtually silent and has  high filtration MERV 10 filters which only cost $10-15 per replacement.  Also, the home has 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.  We do this work in house to ensure quality installation.

Heat Recovery Ventilation

HRV Ventilation­­ System. There is a separate ventilation system that brings in filtered outside air and removes 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 and moisture management.  We do this work in house to ensure quality installation.

Cellulose filled walls.  The house has wet wall cellulose for insulation, which is a 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 very well as an insulator and sound barrier.  We do this work in house to ensure quality installation.

Cellulose insulated attic.  The cellulose insulation was blown in the attic after all of the air sealing was completed and the drywall was 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.  We do this work in house to ensure quality installation.

QII All of the insulation is third party verified to be “Quality Installed Insulation”.  The insulation was also verified with an infrared camera to ensure it is perfect, which it is.

Conditioned crawlspace.  The crawlspace is lined with a 15 mil vapor barrier and is considered conditioned space.  This means that heat loss from the duct system and the house is minimized.  We do this work in house to ensure quality installation.

Water Sense.  A heat pump water heater is installed 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, energy usage, 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.  This, along with the low flow fixtures and the drought resistant landscaping, makes this house one of the lowest water usage homes around.  We do this work in house to ensure quality installation.

No VOC paints.  All interior paint used is no VOC (volatile organic compounds) to further guarantee better air quality.  While the house was being painted you couldn’t even smell it, which is a big difference from standard paints.

Appliances  All of the appliances were chosen to match the design of the home; durable, user friendly and of course energy efficient.  All appliances are on the top of the energy star ratings and on the Top Ten USA list which rates the most efficient appliances.

Windows  All of the windows are triple pane to ensure a comfortable, efficient, and quiet environment inside the home.

Monitoring System  The house is equipped with a full monitoring system of electrical usage, solar production and heating and cooling equipment performance.  At a glance you can see how well your house is performing and remotely control your heating and cooling system.

Durable Construction We built this home 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 is as good as it gets.

For details on the sale of the this house, please visit our realtor, Mary Neuberger’s, website for this listing at http://netzerojewell.com/