Zero Net Energy Ready Home Build in Martinez

zne home

 

After years of retrofitting and building homes in the Bay Area, Scott O’Hara, EPB’s co-founder, is putting it all together with a great build.  Using advanced design and installation of Home Performance this home is ready to buy and make Zero Net Energy (which makes it zero net energy ready).   The new  ZNER (Zero Net Energy Ready) build in Martinez is now complete and for sale.  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 another stunning combination of beauty and performance unmatched anywhere.  We are so confident in the performance that we giving a zero electric bill guarantee for three years if the solar option is selected. If there is an elctric energy usage bill, we will pay it.  This is the first time, besides us on previous builds, 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.

The largest difference in performance between this home and another build is the design and installation of the performance work.  All of the heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water plumbing, insulation, and air sealing were designed and installed to work as a system.  With Eco Performance Builders designing and installing all of these systems the communication is open between the trades where it is normally not.  Now the mechanical system can work with, and be confident of, the insulation system.  The ventilation can be designed to how sealed the house is.  A house is a system with many parts and if the systems can work together you can get great performance with standard technologies designed and installed perfectly.  This house is a great example of that.   You won’t find toxic spray foam or expensive geothermal systems in this home.  Everything that went into the home is standard, durable, safe, and well thought out.

Here are the details about the home:

It is a  2-story, 3,046 square foot home in a quiet location in the hills of Martinez with spectacular views of Mount Diablo and the surrounding areas. It features an elegant interior with all of the luxuries expected in a new high end custom home. The home has three full baths, an awesome light-filled “great-room” with soaring 12′ ceilings, slab quartzite counter tops , a granite slab island, a gas cooktop, a Zephyr range hood, a fireplace, a 2 car attached garage, oak hardwood floors and rift cut oak cabinets.

 

Our past energy monitoring and data logging of energy usage and practical 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) and Zero Net Energy Ready (ZNER)

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 3,046 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,  energy efficiency appliances and a high performance water heater to keep those demands down.

Here is a snapshot of what our last ZNE home used for energy

usage vs production jewell

pie chart - usage

  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.

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 walls

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 96% efficient water heater is installed to make hot water efficiently, which is supplemented by the Solar Electric system. Our hot water piping system is designed for low water loss and low energy usage with the on demand hot water circulation system to minimize cold water waste, energy usage, and wait time at hot water fixtures.  We were able to achieve one cup loss to get warm water and 1.5 for hot water per fixture. 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.

Heat Pump-Dec-with weather

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 more details on the sale of the this house, please visit our realtor, Amber Cole’s, website: http://www.ambercole.com/IDXDetail.aspx?mlsnum=635814751156871830_10478&city=Martinez&address=124-West-Park-Street&state=CA&segmentid=5927710&mlstableid=UPLOAD&htmlfile=1603533.html

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