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Green Building News

Another High-Performance Project in Wisconsin

The Resource House conforms to Energy Star and Green Built Home standards, and aims for net-zero-energy performance

Image 1 of 3
In the Badger State. Called The Resource House, this home is designed to operate at net zero energy and, once its solar power system is up and running, even feed electricity back into the grid.
Image Credit: Healthy Homes
In the Badger State. Called The Resource House, this home is designed to operate at net zero energy and, once its solar power system is up and running, even feed electricity back into the grid.
Image Credit: Healthy Homes
Unveiled in May, The Resource House includes 1,800 sq. ft. of conditioned space and is billed as the first true net-zero-energy house in Wisconsin’s Dane County. Insulated to meet Wisconsin Energy Star standards, the house also includes a ground-source heat pump and 11.5 kW solar power system, which are designed to cover all of the home's heating, cooling, and electrical needs. The exterior walls were constructed with panels produced by Windsor Building Systems, a Madison-based specialist in factory-built floor-deck, wall, and roof systems.

A number of energy efficient homes have popped up on Wisconsin turf over the past several months, including a home built for net-zero-energy performance in Black River, one in Stoughton, and an three-story home built to earn Passive House certification in Hudson, on the state’s western border. Another project that recently joined this growing Dairyland lineup is an 1,800-sq.-ft. home southwest of Madison that is designed for net-zero-energy performance.

Called The Resource House, this project is built to qualify for certification by both Wisconsin Energy Star and Green Built Home, a review-and-certification program run by the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative, an advocacy group for environmentally sound business strategies, construction, tourism, agriculture, and land use. Robin Pharo, president of green building and sustainability consultancy Healthy Homes, which provided design and marketing services for the project, told the Wisconsin State Journal that her parents bought the home and are expected to move in on June 10.

Big on PV

Purchased for about $428,000, the home is not exactly inexpensive, but that price does include about $55,000 (after state and federal incentives) for energy efficiency upgrades such as extra insulation (the exterior walls were factory-built by Windsor Building Systems, based in Madison), a ground-source heat pump, a 11.5 kW solar power system, and a design strategy intended to capitalize on the passive solar potential of the location.

The home is enrolled in the now-fully subscribed Pgs-ART feed-in tariff program run by Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin Power and Light Company. Under an Alliant Energy pricing structure called Second Nature, the program pays 25 cents per kilowatt hour for all PV-generated power fed back into the grid by participating homes. If the home performs as planned, all of its heating, cooling, and electrical needs will be met by its renewable-energy sources and passive-solar features, and, Pharo adds, it will be the first truly net-zero-energy house in Wisconsin’s Dane County.

One Comment

  1. Doug McEvers | | #1

    Factor of 2
    For this type of housing to become mainstream, the cost per square foot will have to be cut in half.. High end housing in the Twin Cities metro is fetching about $120 a square, this home is at $238. The interest on 200k will heat and cool at least 10 energy efficient homes of the same size.

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