Falmouth, Maine - Solar Hot Water
This home in Falmouth served as a model for what a modular green home might look like. In addition to extreme energy efficiency, it uses solar hot water collectors for domestic hot water and supplemental radiant heating.

At ReVision we’ve had the honor to work on several pilot projects for net-zero homes – projects like the Bright Built Barn and GO Home which have proven to produce more energy than they use.

This leading edge building science is starting to move from the realm of demonstration to reality, marked yesterday in the Portland Press Herald’s coverage of new green modular homes developed by Kaplan Thompson Architects and Keiser Homes.

Tux Turkel writes:

To achieve net-zero performance, Keiser looked at a site-built home Kaplan had recently designed in Falmouth. That home, which is 1,680 square feet and has three bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms, served as a prototype for the line. It’s being offered as the Great Diamond model, with a starting price of $235,000.

Each model combines energy efficiency with features that promote healthy indoor living, such as low-emission paint and heat recovery ventilation for fresh air exchange. South-facing windows help warm the homes in winter; roof overhangs block hot sunlight in summer.

Each home will be plumbed and wired for solar. For buyers who choose the option, solar hot water, solar electric systems or both will be installed.

Choosing both systems could add another $40,000 or so, although tax credits could lower the cost. The systems are designed to soak up enough energy over the course of a year to offset electric bills. The extra power generated by the solar electric panels in the summer and fed back into the grid is intended to make up utility costs in winter — resulting in net-zero energy consumption.

What makes the homes remarkable is that they are not being marketed at the top-tier of development, but towards middle class families. “We think this is the direction of the future,” said Josh Saunders, Keiser’s sales manager. “Even more than sustainable, energy efficient is what people are going to gravitate to. That’s where the payback is.”

As we’ve mentioned before, investing in a solar electric system allows you to pre buy electricity for less than today’s grid rates. Add to that a life of minimal utility bills, and net zero starts to mean as much economic sense as it does environmental sense.

More info at Kaplan Thompson’s website.