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Green Building News

Developer Announces Plan For South Carolina’s First Near-Zero-Energy Home

Boulder architect George Watt is currently designing a near-zero-energy house that will be built at The Ridge at Chukker Creek, a green residential development near Aiken, South Carolina. Watt also designed Spring Leaf, a 12-unit near-zero-energy project in Boulder, Colorado, shown above.
Image Credit: George Watt, architect

Home Will Include Large Rooftop PV Array

AIKEN, SC — Ron Monahan, a developer from Boulder, Colorado, has announced plans to begin construction this year on a home he calls “the first zero-energy home in South Carolina.” The home will be one of 75 Energy Star homes planned for Phase One of The Ridge at Chukker Creek, a green residential development near Aiken, South Carolina.

The near-zero-energy home will be insulated with spray polyurethane foam and equipped with a rooftop photovoltaic array. If the market responds well, Monahan may build three additional zero-energy homes in South Carolina.

Architect George Watt of Boulder, Colorado, is finalizing plans for the home. “The approach is to do it as an all-electric house,” said Watt. “We plan to use an air-to-air heat pump with a COP of 3.6 or 3.7 and an on-demand electric water heater. The house will include an induction cooktop and Energy Star appliances to keep loads down, along with a Lifebreath HRV. It will have a terrific building envelope, well insulated and well sealed, with R-20 walls and an R-40 roof. I expect that the house will need a PV system sized between 8 and 10 kilowatts.”

According to the Aiken Standard, The Ridge at Chukker Creek “includes a 61-acre conservation easement called the Freeman Preserve, miles of walking trails and a spring-fed pond. … Builders plan to use recycled or recyclable materials, with low or no volatile organic compounds and locally manufactured components.” At The Ridge at Chukker Creek, existing three-bedroom homes without PV systems are on the market for $325,000.


  1. homedesign | | #1

    nice pv
    I like this image...the solar panels are integrated into the architecture..and it has an overhang!
    Nice work George Watt.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    The roof fits the modules
    George told me that he prefers to use conventional rack-mounted PV modules rather than roof-integrated PV tiles or slates, because the power output per square foot of conventional modules is greater. However, he always sizes his PV roofs carefully so that the roof dimensions are multiples of the PV module he intends to use. That way (with proper rake, ridge, and eave detailing) the modules appear to be roof-integrated.

  3. C gaither | | #3

    Near Zero Energy Homes
    I hear the talk but has anyone walked the walk. This article was a year ago - Did the guy from Boulder ever follow through? I hope so because this is what we need.

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