This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 28, 2004

Zero Energy Home Displayed at International Builder's Show

Photo of Ultimate Family Home.

The Ultimate Family Home.

Attendees at mid-January's International Builder's Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, had a chance to tour a custom home that, over the course of a year, will produce as much electricity as it uses. Called the "Ultimate Family Home," it draws on two rooftop-mounted solar energy systems: one for power and another for hot water. A highly efficient air-conditioning system combines with good insulation, air sealing, and advanced windows to keep the 5,300-square-foot home comfortable. Other energy-saving highlights include tankless water heaters that deliver hot water only on demand, fluorescent and LED lighting, and heat-reflecting roof tiles combined with a radiant barrier for added energy savings and comfort. The home will use 90 percent less energy than a similar home built strictly to code.

DOE started the Zero Energy Homes initiative to bring the latest research out of its national laboratories and into homes. DOE and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) partnered with Pardee Homes and Consol Energy Consultants to build the Ultimate Family Home. See the NREL press release and the Ultimate Family Home Web site.

The Ultimate Family Home was one of several energy-efficient homes displayed at the builder's show, two of which were covered in the January 21st edition of the EERE Network News. In addition, a house called the "Home by Design Showcase" was displayed in the parking lot of the Stardust Hotel. The Home by Design Showcase is built on an insulated concrete foundation, uses Structural Insulating Panels (SIPs) for the walls and roof, and features Energy Star-labeled appliances and double-pane low-E windows. Insulated metal window shutters help to further shut out the hot afternoon sun. A tankless water heater supplies both hot water and space heating, and a high-efficiency air conditioner is combined with sealed ducts to cool the house efficiently. According to the home's Web site, the house is 41.8 percent more efficient than required by the Nevada Building Code. See the Home by Design Web site.