Net-Zero Homes Gaining in Popularity

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Net-zero homes are normally either a custom design, or are seen in communities specifically designed around themDeltec Homes, a longtime provider of prefabricated, energy efficient homes, is looking to change this with their Renew Collection of homes. These homes are designed with energy efficiency in mind, and allow the buyer to add options that bring them all the way to net-zero energy use — including solar, of course.

Deltec has now announced the delivery of their first net-zero home from the Renew Collection.

Dr. Marie DeVerneil, a professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, first discovered the company in 2012. It was the launch of their net-zero collection in 2013 that convinced her to purchase a Deltec home.

Building a home that had a low impact on the environment was top priority for DeVerneil. An organic farmer, and mother of a LEED architect and oceanographer, she describes herself and her family as very “green.”

“I teach a course in cultural sustainability [at UMBC] and am a member of the sustainability movement there,” she said. “I knew if I were to build a house, it would have to be as fossil fuel free as possible.”

Located in Virginia, the home will feature passive solar design, solar panels with battery backup, a double stud wall, and mineral wool insulation. The rectangular shape of the Ridgeline model DeVerneil chose was new territory for Deltec, which is best known for its round homes.

“I love Deltec’s round homes, but this model is the perfect scale for me,” she said. DeVerneil plans to move in when she retires.

The Renew Collection has six models, with three more launching later this year. Each home is designed to reduce energy consumption by two-thirds in comparison to an average home. The remaining one-third can be powered with renewable energy, making yearly energy use net-zero.

As California (and, we hope, other states) steps up its energy efficiency efforts, energy efficiency is being seen more as part of a comprehensive plan that includes solar power. Rather than shrinking the market for solar, this can help increase it, as is seen with the new Deltec homes. Whether it’s a retrofit to an existing home or adding a new one, solar power and energy efficiency can work together to reduce energy needs and even get to the net-zero goal.

Consumers seem to like the combination.

“The construction of the DeVerneil home has been very exciting for us,” said Steve Linton, president of Deltec Homes. “There are several years of research and planning behind the Renew Collection and to see it launch and gain popularity so quickly has been validating.”

This is the first of nearly 20 homes from the Renew Collection scheduled to be delivered by mid-2015.