In a world first, Habitat for Humanity in Tennessee, USA are constructing research homes expected to be net zero energy dwellings. The goal for these homes is to be so energy efficient that the annualized energy usage doesn’t exceed what is produced on site.
The homes showcase state-of-the-art energy efficiency and completely redefine how energy-efficient homes should be built by using nearly airtight construction and structural insulated panels (SIP). As an example, comparison of energy performance demonstrates that SIP houses use 1/10 the heating energy than similar sized wood-framed houses across the street. The homes also have a 2kW solar PV system on the roof to provide electricity.
It is hoped that the lessons learnt in building these homes will result in affordable zero energy housing being available by the year 2015.