Lowest Cost Net-Zero Energy Home Ever Built
Oakwood Homes introduced the nation’s lowest cost Net-Zero Energy home ever built by a production builder.
The Denver home features the same cutting edge technology that has been available in homes twice as expensive and more. The difference is this home will go on the market later this year for less than $199,000.
The merging of affordability with cutting-edge energy technology reflects Oakwood Homes’ ongoing commitment to providing the highest quality homes at the lowest cost to homeowners. As the number one selling builder in the Denver area and winner of numerous customer satisfaction awards, Oakwood Homes wants to make the latest and most sought-after energy savings ideas available to homeowners of every income level. Last year, the homebuilder introduced a Net-Zero Energy Home at the $315,000 price point.
Both Net-Zero Energy homes have used the input of University of Denver seniors enrolled in Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate & Construction Management. Students help Oakwood Homes by managing the on-site day to day construction and assisting in the marketing and selling of the home.
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A Net-Zero Energy electric home creates at least as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. “In my research I’ve never seen one even close to a $200,000 [price point],” said John Cheney, project manager for Oakwood Homes. “This is a very price conscious new home market and we focus on what is the most economical way to achieve energy savings for the homeowner.”
Cheney estimates the Net-Zero technology adds about $10,000 to the purchase price, but that cost is offset by future energy savings. The 1,700 square foot home, with 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, comes with a “Net-Zero package” which includes the following technology:
- A large solar panel array, packaged as a 20-year lease arrangement with a 20-year warranty, and costs the homeowner about one-third less than a comparable system.
- A revolutionary tankless water heater, over 94 percent efficient, which has a better ability to produce continuous, high pressure hot water than typical on-demand type water heaters.
- Ultra-energy efficient windows, featuring a 50 percent increase in low-E protection
- Electron Stimulated Luminescence™ light bulbs, featuring warmer, more natural light
- Airtight construction and use of rigid foam insulation, two building strategies that reduce energy loss even in the most energy efficient homes
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly