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The sign out front kind of gives it away.

What does a Zero Energy Home Look Like?

Nestled in with all the other Craftsmen style homes in Ohio Township, PA's trendy Cobblestone Estates neighborhood is the Best Practices Research Alliance (BPRA) Lab Home, a net-zero energy home standing as a paragon for the movement to zap energy bills from the lives of homeowners.

Built by S&A Homes in partnership with IBACOS, the four-bedroom home will be a sort of live-in laboratory over the next few years, housing experts who will monitor the various HVAC systems and home energy usage/generation.

The Lab Home was built upon the successes of the S&A E-Home of 2009, which wasn't quite net-zero but did cut monthly energy bills by $150. That home featured 2x6 exterior construction, ultra low-e windows, CFL lighting and high-perfomance HVAC systems.

The new Lab Home includes a horizontal loop ground source heat pump system, 8" exterior walls filled with R-40 insulation and solar panels.

You can follow the progress of the Lab Home on their blog.

I'd love to live in a net-zero home, but I'm a little ways away from realizing that dream. Still, making energy-efficiency upgrades here and there can only get a person closer. Little weatherizing projects can go a long way over time.

How close are you to net-zero?


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