The Ultimate in Energy Efficiency is “Net Zero”
The Net Zero Manufactured Home was created to speed the development of more sustainable and affordable housing.
According to the Department of Energy (DOE), a Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) is a high-performance home that is so energy efficient, its renewable energy system can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption. The DOE’s Builders Challenge Program has recognized hundreds of leading builders for their achievements in energy efficiency since 2008, resulting in a select few of DOE ZERH projects across the United States.
One such project, the New Generation Net Zero Manufactured Home in Eatontown, NJ, is one of the few DOE-designated ZERHs in the U.S., and also the first to built in a cold winter climate.
Funded by the DOE’s Building America Program, with support from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Systems Building Research Alliance (SBRA), the project is part of an effort to foster and advance the development of affordable energy efficient homes.
The demonstration home, developed by the Building America project team led by The Levy Partnership Inc. (TLP) and subsequently manufactured by Champion Home Builders, currently sits in the Pine Tree Manufactured Home Park in Eatontown, less than 50 miles south of New York City. The park itself is managed by the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA), headquartered in Neptune, NJ.
The home is outfitted with six dual-glazed Low-E windows that radiate energy, as well as two energy efficient doors, all provided by Lippert Components Inc. (LCI). According to LCI, the windows essentially act as “a selective mirror for thermal energy,” as their double coating prevents heat from escaping and reflects room heat back inside during the cold weather months.
In addition, Whirlpool Corporation outfitted the home with several high-efficiency and sustainable brand appliances, including an energy efficient dishwasher, refrigerator, freestanding gas range and washer-dryer set.
The DOE notes that the Eatontown home’s ZERH designation “represents a whole new level of home performance, with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health and durability.”
So, what does this mean for prospective home buyers?
For starters, this ZERH project and others like it include photovoltaic (PV) systems that bring the entire house to “zero energy use” on an annual basis. Certainly, this integrated design approach that has been in the works for years; but if all goes according to plan, it will cross over into the mainstream as an innovative and affordable option for energy-conscious homeowners in the near future.
Furthermore, the Eatontown home will be made available for immediate sale with occupancy following the six-month vacant monitoring period, which is set to end in the fall of 2016. Data collection will continue for a year of occupation, according to Whirlpool, TLP, and the DOE, after which point the findings will be studied and then applied to new net zero home designs across the country.
To learn more about this project, appliance DESIGN reached out to Bob Bergeth, general manager of Contract Builder Sales at Whirlpool, and Emmanuel Levy, president of TLP, for further comment.
AD: What does this particular ZERH project hope to achieve?
Levy: “The overarching goal of the research is to identify least-cost ways to achieve zero energy performance with homes built in factories. There are [also] specific technical goals, such as developing design solutions for incorporating high-efficiency, ductless, mini-split heat pumps into factory built homes.”
What is Whirlpool’s role in making its suite of smart appliances both energy efficient and affordable?
Bergeth: “Whirlpool Corporation gives builders—and by extension, homeowners—high-performing products throughout our portfolio of brands that have a small impact on the environment, an affordable purchase price and a low cost to operate. As a result, homeowners do not need to choose between products that are sustainable and products that are affordable.
Our connected products work together to seamlessly fit the lives of consumers while also helping them save money on energy costs. For example, our Whirlpool Smart Top Load Washer integrates with the Nest Learning Thermostat; so when Nest is set to Away, the dryer can switch to Eco Mode to save energy with a longer, more energy-efficient cycle. And, with notifications enabled through the Whirlpool mobile app, consumers are alerted to the progress of their cycle and when a load is complete, so clothing doesn’t sit well after its wash or dry time.
Also, our HybridCare Dryers merge both heat pump and ventless technologies to solve key challenges when it comes to dryers: energy usage, gentle care for specialty clothing and identifying an appropriate space to vent outside. This ventless technology gives families and multifamily developers the option to install a laundry pair where they would like in the home or building, [and it is] no longer restricted to spaces where they can vent outside. With the Eco Dry setting, the dryer uses up to 73 percent less energy to help families care for the planet and save on power bills.”
After the 18 months-long research and development period on the Eatontown ZERH is complete, what’s next?
Levy: “The research will be followed by a robust dissemination program, getting results into the hands of the factory builders and working with companies on incorporating the technologies into their routine building practices. The innovations will be delivered concurrent with the increase in industry energy standards (late 2017).”
For more information, please visit http://www.championhomes.com/new-jersey-net-zero-energy-manufactured-home.