So we were intrigued to hear that green home builder Nexus EnergyHomes is expanding into South Carolina with two communities that use geothermal and solar PV technologies in every house.
The developer’s base design includes a PV solar array, geothermal heating and cooling, energy recovery ventilation, LED and CFL lighting systems, Energy Star appliances and windows with high-performance glass.
The combination of these technologies is designed to enable each home to produce almost as much energy as it needs to run, saving the homeowners thousands of dollars each year on utility expenses.
The first development, the Sundial GeoSolar Community of River Birch planned for Summervillle, South Carolina, will include 12 final phase lots that use the developer’s three- to five-bedroom home designs ranging from 2,500 – 3,450 square feet and priced in the mid-$300,000 range.
The second project, Sunchaser at Bridlewood Farms in Ridgeville, will include 30 lots with homes ranging from 1,900-3,100 square feet and priced in the mid-$250,000s.
Over the past three years, Nexus EnergyHomes has developed 59 near-net-zero units in the city of Frederick, Maryland. It also is building custom green homes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The company’s homes aren’t quite net-zero, because the weather conditions in the Northeast are too variable for them to operate completely off the grid. But they are darn close.
SMUD Invests in Net-Zero Construction
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is also driving advances in near net-zero home development projects – it earned a LEED Platinum certification for one of its earliest efforts in Folsom, California, way back in 2008.
More recently, the utility has helped support a number of near net-zero energy housing projects, including nearly $487,000 in incentives that it put toward helping build the La Valentina apartments in Sacramento (pictured below). The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Domus Development were also instrumental in the construction.
The two-building project (which opened in August) includes 81 apartments that benefit from rooftop solar PV, Energy Star appliances, water saving fixtures, and on-site water retention basins.
The La Valentina North building is expected to use an estimated 63% less energy (both electricity and natural gas) than other new buildings that meet California’s minimum Title 24 building standards. The adjacent La Valentina Station building exceeds the state’s code requirements for energy efficiency by 26% and is being considered for LEED Silver status.
SMUD is working on another nearby development that will include near net-zero energy homes. Features of these homes include rooftop solar PV, solar water heating systems, LED lighting, high-performance heat pump heating and cooling systems, and energy harvesting technology that will help automate lighting controls.
Recent research shows having a green home in California can help sellers earn a 9% higher sales price compared with similar homes. We haven’t come across similar data for other states, but we would be surprised to hear otherwise.
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