Tour a Zero Energy Home!

In the midst of the national conversation around building energy efficient homes, the Zero Energy Idea House demonstrates how a home can produce nearly as much energy as it consumes.

The recently completed 1,630-square-foot show home incorporates innovations in energy generation and conservation techniques for residential home building.

“The Zero Energy Idea House is truly the first of its kind and we are thrilled to celebrate the completion of this project and showcase the features that make it so efficient,” said Donna Shirey, president of Shirey Contracting Incorporated.

Donna and Riley Shirey developed the concept for the home to inspire other homeowners to move towards energy independence through changes in lifestyle and the use of new technologies. Many of the home’s features are being incorporated into existing homes to make them healthier and more energy efficient.

Key sustainable features of the home include: photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, which will provide most of the home’s power; solar hot water; a 1,200-square-foot green roof; a planted “living wall” to serve as a retention wall; Energy Star® lighting; energy efficient windows and appliances; rainwater harvesting; a wind turbine; and in-floor radiant heating. The home also features low-flow showerheads and faucets, low-VOC paints, FSC-certified wood, and non-toxic finishes on cabinetry and flooring.

A&R Solar installed the solar energy system.

An energy consumption monitor displays real time energy statistics, allowing the homeowners to make on-the-fly changes to energy input and output. The home’s extensive green features will result in annual utility expenses of less than $500, about $40 per month.

Construction on the home began on Aug. 24, 2008. In December 2008, a major milestone was reached with the installation of structural insulated panels (SIPs), which allowed for framing and insulation to be completed in just one-step. In addition to making homes more energy efficient, installation of the SIPs creates a structure that results in a healthier home with significantly improved indoor air quality.