Blogs > Sara Gutterman > May 2013 > Getting Smarter

Getting Smarter

Green Builder Media recently interviewed Dan Bridleman, senior vice president of sustainable technology and purchasing for KB Homes, about KB’s new ZeroHouse 2.0, a next-generation model home that showcases the features and benefits of sustainable living. The ZeroHouse 2.0 combines energy efficient design concepts and smart-home technologies with the objective of offering home buyers an affordable option for net-zero energy living.

“Intelligent devices in the ZeroHouse 2.0 communicate with the utility so that the home uses energy at the cheapest time possible,” says Bridleman. “Our goal is to reduce the cost of home ownership and, ideally, eliminate monthly electricity bills for homeowners.”

Bridleman states that KB Home’s mantra is ‘reduce before you produce’, which means that the company advocates investing in an efficient building envelope first, and then in solar (PV and solar thermal). The company’s average home design has a HERS rating of approximately 68 (national average), then a homeowner can invest in building envelope upgrades to bring the HERS score down to 40. With the installation of a modest solar system, the house can readily become net-zero energy.

Bridleman states that “the higher efficiency of ZeroHouse 2.0 is the result of a whole-home approach – from the inside out – that includes additional insulation; upgraded HVAC systems; dual-pane, low-emitting windows; and roof-mounted solar panels. Additionally, our WaterSense-labeled homes are designed to use 20 percent less water than a typical new home. For a family of four, that’s a difference of about 50,000 gallons of water a year compared to a typical home, or enough for nearly 2,000 loads of laundry and as much as $600 in annual utility bills.”

KB offers an Energy Performance Guide (EPG) label (similar to an MPG label for a car), which helps homeowners understand their predicted monthly utility bills. Additionally, KB is actively educating consumers about whole home automation systems that enable homeowners to control and monitor their energy consumption and program their appliances via a Web-based portal or mobile application. “Homeowners can set their appliances so their highest energy consumption activities happen at times when electricity rates are lowest. They can also receive alerts about the status of their smart appliances – all from their smartphones or computers,” asserts Bridleman.

KB will test the ZeroHouse 2.0 in ten markets across the country.

Are there other innovative, cost-effective, game-changing systems that we should know about? Write to me at sara@greenbuildermag.com or follow me on Twitter @SaraGBM.

For more information about green building and sustainable living, visit www.greenbuildermag.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter at @greenbuildermag and @VISIONHouseGBM for regular updates and breaking news.

 

 

Posted: 5/9/2013 9:42:21 AM by Mary Kestner | with 0 comments



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