Friday, September 23, 2005

New Habitat for Humanity Home Produces as Much Energy as It Consumes

From, news of Metro Denver Habitat for Humanity's new Zero Energy House.
[The house] combines energy efficient building design that reduces energy consumption with solar heat and power generation technologies that supply the home's remaining energy needs.

The project was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and served partly to help kickoff Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman's tour "Energizing America for Energy Security" last June 13 when the construction first began.

As part of DOE' s Building America Program, NREL researchers designed the house using the latest research tools. The house features super-insulated walls, floors, and ceilings; efficient appliances; a solar water heating system; heat-recovery ventilation system to assure indoor air quality; compact fluorescent lighting; and windows coated with thin layers of metallic oxide to help keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer. The home's 4-kW photovoltaic system is sized to produce excess energy in the summer to balance out winter consumption.

"Together, we created a home that is not only comfortable and affordable, but uses less than half of the energy of a standard home while producing energy through renewable energy systems," said NREL Director Dan E. Arvizu.
First, it's great to see a Secretary of Energy out actively promoting renewable development. Second, I wonder if this will become a common feature of Habitat homes. The organization is certain to have a lot of work in the wake of Katrina and Rita -- could HH lead the way in sustainable rebuilding of storm-ravaged regions?

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