Zero Energy Homes Project

From an upscale home in the suburbs of Atlanta to a cottage in a South Georgia State Park, solar technologies are being integrated into buildings across the state.

Southface, with support from Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Home and Building Programs, assisted in the construction of two Solar Energy Homes.

These homes featured advanced solar energy technology, high performance thermal envelope, energy efficient heating and cooling systems and appliances, and green building products.
Westbrook Solar EarthCraft House - Cumming, Georgia
Westbrook Solar EarthCraft House - Cheyenne
is a three-story, four-bedroom single family home with beautiful double front porches.

The home serves as a model encouraging potential homebuyers to include solar and other resource efficient technologies into their own homes.

The home is 45 percent more energy efficient and will cost approximately $842 less to run each year than a typical new home of the same size.

Below is a list of the home's green features.
Building Materials and Techniques
The types of building materials used affect a home's longevity. The Westbrook Solar EarthCraft House incorporates the use of sustainable building materials and techniques including: Radiant Barrier - Cheyenne
Building materials used to increase the home's durability by preventing moisture problems that can lead to mold growth include: House Wrap - Cheyenne
Air Sealing
A  leaky  home causes high energy costs, poor comfort, and promotes entry of moisture and contaminants. Air Sealing a leaky home - Cheyenne

Unfortunately many sites for air leakage are hidden from view. The best strategy in both new and existing homes is to reduce air leakage as much as possible and to provide controlled ventilation with fresh outdoor air.

Materials and labor for air sealing the Westbrook Solar EarthCraft House cost approximately $450.


Eliminating gaps in exterior sheathing and interior drywall reduces air leakage from:
Insulation
The Westbrook Solar EarthCraft House features a mix of insulation types to minimize heat transfer through the walls, ceilings and floors. Insulation upgrades to the home cost approximately $1,000 for labor and materials. Blown Cellulose - Cheyenne
Basement
The Westbrook Solar EarthCraft House demonstrates how to properly seal and insulate a basement to increase comfort, save on energy costs, improve durability, and reduce the entry of moisture, soil gases and other pollutants into the home. The basement features include:
Installing Drainage Mats for below grade foundations - Cheyenne
Drainage matt installed along the exterior of the below grade foundation walls helps maintain an airspace for proper drainage.
Insulating the basement for more consistent temperatures - Cheyenne
Floor to ceiling foundation wall insulation prevents condensation and maintains a more constant temperature throughout the basement.
Exhaust Ventilation
Ventilation is important to exhaust moisture and odors from baths and kitchens year-round.
Heating, Cooling and Fresh Air Ventilation
On average 41% of a home's energy usage can go to conditioning (heating and cooling) the house. Determining the correct size of heating and cooling equipment is key to achieving comfortable interior conditions -- temperature and humidity -- and saving on the cost to buy and operate equipment. Estimated cost for all HVAC improvements is $2,500.
High SEER cooling units - Cheyenne
Cooling: 5 tons, 14.25 SEER (the higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit is).
Electronic Air Filters - Cheyenne
Electronic air filter reusable for life.
Home Appliances and Lighting
Lighting and appliances account for more than 45% of all energy bills in a home. Every $1 spent on electricity for an incandescent bulb, provides 10¢ worth of light and 90¢ worth of heat.

The estimated upgrade cost for all lighting improvements in the Westbrook Solar EarthCraft House is $300. No additional costs are added for using energy efficient appliances since they are widely available.
Compact fluorescent light (CFL) fixtures - Cheyenne Compact fluorescent light (CFL) fixtures and CFL bulbs in traditional light fixtures replace traditional incandescent lighting and reduce the amount of energy used for lighting by approximately 40%
Indoor Water Conservation
Atlanta, like many communities, is facing a water crisis. Water efficient fixtures save money, provide high performance and protect the environment.
Water Heating
Water heating is typically the third highest energy cost in a home--16% of total energy cost on average. Selecting the appropriate fuel and water heater type, using efficient system design, and reducing hot water consumption can manage water heating energy costs.
Windows
The Georgia Energy Code encourages that windows and glass doors used have a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) less than 0.4 and a U-factor of 0.65 or less. The SHGC is a measure of the amount of solar heat (heat radiating from the sun) that an object blocks. U-factor measures the amount of heat conducted through a material. U-factor is the inverse of the R-value. The lower the U-factor, or the higher the R-value, the more efficient the window.
Photovoltaic System
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems - Cheyenne Photovoltaic (PV) systems silently generate electricity from free sunlight.

The Westbrook Solar EarthCraft House demonstrates how PV systems can offset the amount of electric power needed from conventional power plants to improve air quality and reliability.