West Green Homes

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A Pretty Good House in Southern California

May 2, 2016 | Big Bear Lake, California

A few years into the housing bust, I started shopping around for a cabin to use as a getaway and vacation rental. I live in San Diego and I set my sights on the resort town of Big Bear Lake, in the San Bernardino mountains northeast of Los Angeles. Just 2½ hours away, it was a place where my family and I had spent many weekends skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and fishing.

New Town lede

Denver Developer Focuses on Zero-Energy Homes

May 28, 2013 | Denver, Colorado

A Denver-area developer, New Town Builders, is aiming to make all of its new homes zero-energy-ready by the end of 2013.

“Our goal is to be 100% U.S. Department of Energy (DOEUnited States Department of Energy.) Zero Energy Ready certified on all of our single-family homes,” said Bill Rectanus, vice president of New Town Builders, which plans to build 150 single-family homes in the Denver metro area in 2013.

TC Legend Montlake lede

Modern Dream Home is Energy-Positive

May 21, 2013 | Climate Zone 4C, Seattle, Washington

A Seattle couple spent two years searching for their dream home before deciding to build a new custom home. They turned to zero-energy-home builder Ted Clifton, Jr., who built them a modern two-story house with a mother-in-law suite and views of Lake Washington from the rooftop deck.

Clifton, the owner of of TC Legend Homes, calls the home a “positive energy home” — one that produces more energy than the home itself consumes. In fact, the home should produce enough electricity to power an electric car with the charging station set up in the garage.

One Sky home exterior lede

New California Home Meets the Passivhaus Standard

Apr 27, 2013 | Climate Zone 4, San Jose, California

This energy-efficient house in San Jose, California, not only produces enough solar electricity to meet its annual energy needs, it also complies with the stringent PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. standard.

The design-buildCompany that handles house design and construction. Since both services are provided by the same firm, integrated design can often be more easily achieved. team of Allen Gilliland and Bronwyn Barry of One Sky Homes were behind the spec home and succeeded in meeting the Passivhaus standard and the performance requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program.

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