Image Credit: Cobblestone Homes (images 1, 5, 6, and 7) and The Dow Chemical Company (images 2, 3, 4, and 8) A showcase for building products produced and co-developed by Dow Chemical Company, the Vision Zero house was built by Cobblestone Homes, based in Saginaw, Michigan. The Vision Zero house will be used as a showcase for local suppliers and contractors, Dow products, and Cobblestone Homes for about a year before it will be placed on the market. Dow has developed a website that includes a video overview of some Vision Zero house energy efficiency features. A virtual tour presented on Dow’s Vision Zero website highlights applications for its Styrofoam tongue-and-groove insulation. The home includes a ground-source heat pump. Solar power collection for the home is handled in part by these Dow Powerhouse solar shingles. Standard solar panels are mounted on a portion of the roof facing the back of the house.
Even if it attracts significant buyer interest, “Vision Zero,” a recently completed energy efficient house in Bay City, Michigan, is unlikely to be sold for at least a year, say those who collaborated on the project. Vision Zero is – like a lot of other new builds that have popped up to help market energy efficient construction, retrofits, and materials – a demonstration home first and piece of housing inventory second.
The Dow Chemical Company and Saginaw-based builder Cobblestone Homes joined forces with several other local contractors and suppliers to construct the 1,752-sq.-ft. three-bedroom/two-bath ranch-style house. It is being presented as Michigan’s first net zero energy single-family dwelling, but also as a destination for people who want to learn about energy efficient construction and materials and appliances that can be used to improve the performance of existing homes.
A no-holds-barred approach
The house is packed with Dow insulation products, including Styrofoam structural insulated sheathing, Styrofoam polyurethane spray foam (for above-grade interior walls and the attic), Perimate insulation (on the basement wall exterior), Thermax sheathing (on the interior basement wall), and a range of sealing materials that collectively push the building’s energy efficiency to almost 70% above that of a comparable home built to code.
This demo, though, is also very much about the virtues of renewable-energy systems, including its ground-source heat pump, solar hot water, and a solar-power system that features both a conventional photovoltaic array on the rooftop facing the back of the house and, on the front-facing roof, Dow Powerhouse solar shingles.
The energy efficiency upgrades over code added $78,400 to the construction cost, according to Dow, while the house is expected save about $3,507 in annual energy costs.
We’re checking with the builder on R values for the shell and on overall construction costs, and will include them here when they become available.
Get building science and energy efficiency advice, plus special offers, in your inbox.