One of the surest ways to generate interest in net-zero-energy homes – and the construction techniques and materials used to build them – is to put one in the ground for a high-profile client and then invite the public for a look.
That’s what 10 students in the Yavapai College Residential Building Technology program did a couple weeks ago in Chino Valley, Arizona, where the 1,200-sq.-ft. NZEH they built for the Prescott affiliate of Habitat for Humanity went on public display.
In addition to its energy efficiency and relatively low cost (one estimate put its value at $125,000), the house has the distinction of being first in a number of categories: it not only is the first NZEH constructed by students in Yavapai’s RBT program, but also the first such home built for Habitat’s Prescott affiliate, and the first in the state of Arizona, according to a story published by Prescott’s Daily Courier.
The house features a Styrofoam-insulated slab, 2 in. rigid insulation in the walls, high-performance windows, a heat pump, balanced fresh-air ventilation, a solar-powered hot water heater, a PV system, and Energy Star appliances and lighting.
Robert Bolding, owner of a Prescott-based home inspection company who works as a volunteer building Habitat homes, told the Courier he came to examine the home’s construction because he may have to inspect more like it in the future.
Bolding, who also works as a general contractor, added that he wants to understand more about the cost effectiveness of green construction.
“I think this technology is moving from the East Coast to the West Coast,” he told the paper. “Arizona residents may not be using as much solar energy as they could be because electricity is a lot cheaper here.”