Sustainable Houses

Electronics Company Builds High-Tech Zero Energy Home

SoundVision, an electronics systems company in Marin County, California has invested in a groundbreaking housing project dubbed “The Zero Energy Home“.

With the support of other green-oriented businesses like Mahoney Architects, Anna Kondolf Lighting Design and sunfirst! Solar, SoundVision made sure the components of their sustainable house included renewable energy technology, energy conservation materials and systems, and most importantly state-of-the-art home resource monitoring. In fact, the Zero Energy Home is America’s first residential development to include feedback mechanisms that give an insight on how lifestyle habits affect a home’s carbon footprint. SoundVision has recently won a first place Remmie Award for Green Building by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for their ambitious project.

The Zero Energy Home was built using only sustainable materials. Fleetwood energy efficient windows and exterior doors were installed, exterior walls and ceiling were insulated with a soy-based foam, while interior walls ere insulated with recycled denim. The 12 kilowatt photovoltaic system mounted on the roof is the home’s primary energy source, and connected to PG&E’s Net Energy Metering (NEMS), it can feed electricity back into the grid during peak periods, making SoundVision’s home net-zero-energy.

But it’s in the power-management and monitoring departments that the Zero Energy Home really shines. By implementing revolutionary technology SoundVision and its partners have achieved a total energy reduction of up to 70%. According to UC Berkeley, 5 percent of all power consumed in the U.S. is standby power (aka phantom loads) from electronics, but in the Zero Energy Home, thanks to innovative management controls, gadgets and appliances really do power off. Take the refrigerator, in the vast majority of households it’s on 24/7, but research has shown it doesn’t need to be. Shutting down your refrigerator for a 2-3 hours won’t cause your food to spoil or the ice to melt, so if a simple shut-down time will cut 25% of the energy used by a refrigerator, why not go for it?

As far as resource monitoring goes, the SoundVision’s Zero Energy Home really sets the bar high. While the only report an average homeowner receives concerning gas and electricity consumption is his PG&E bill, this revolutionary eco-friendly home features energy monitoring technology that continuously measures electric, gas and water consumption, calculates its carbon footprint in real time and makes this information readily available on touch screens and on the Internet. Apart from offering information needed to make necessary lifestyle changes, this system also validates the effectiveness of other technologies in the house, For example, during the first week it detected a malfunctioning inverter which would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

In the lighting department, the goal was to create modern day lighting layouts, with 1950’s simplicity. Not the easiest of feats considering houses nowadays consume a lot more energy than in the past, due to the high number of installed fixtures, but thanks to comprehensive Lutron Homeworks lighting control system, which conserves energy through intelligent dimming, they managed to pull it off. The Zero Energy Home has other intelligent systems, such as: a solar hot water system supplying the kitchens, bathrooms, laundry, pool and spa, a 12,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system that feeds the landscape surrounding the residence and motorized window treatments that prevent undesired solar gain.

via HD Living

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