Ferrier Custom Homes, an award-winning homebuilder that specializes in sustainable building practices, today introduced a net zero energy project that they are building in Fort Worth, Texas. This home is the Zero Energy Casita and it will be open to the public June 4-6 and 11-13, 2010.
Sited on lake front property on Eagle Mountain Lake, Ferrier Custom Homes is putting the finishing touches on the two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,051-square-foot house. The Casita will serve as a second home for its owners and will provide for much of their energy needs with a residential wind turbine.
"The Zero Energy Casita meshes cutting edge technologies with turn of the century aesthetics," said Don Ferrier, president of Ferrier Custom Homes. "Unique to its core, this house is on a mission to reclaim, reduce and renew."
The Casita is oriented to take advantage of a 30-foot-tall oak tree and a stand of 20-foot-tall shrubs for shading. Solar heat gain is further minimized by the light-colored Galvalume metal roof installed over an airspace, which is designed to prevent up to 95 percent of the sun's heat from penetrating into the attic space. Weathershield ZoE5 windows and the SIP wall and roof deck construction create a well-insulated and tightly sealed envelope. To further conserve energy, ductwork for the highly efficient HVAC system runs through the conditioned attic space.
In preliminary testing with its finalized systems, the Casita scored a 30 on the DOE's E-scale (similar to the HERS scale). Designed by Bundy, Young, Sims & Potter of Wichita Falls, Texas, the Casita is an L-shaped ranch built of SIPs and plenty of reclaimed wood.
Its location in a category 2-3 wind zone provides ample opportunity for electrical generation. Once the structure's efficiency was assured, Mr. Ferrier and the clients decided on a 3.7 kW SkyStream wind generator, which has curved blades to minimize troublesome noise during operation. When the wind generator produces excess electricity, it will feed back into the local power grid, and when the winds don't produce enough energy to operate the house, it will draw energy from the grid.
Its rustic appearance looks simple, but results from extensive use of antique reclaimed wood siding, wood flooring, and wood beams. "The owners wanted the house to look like it's been there 150 years," Ferrier says. "So it's both new and old." Interiors are finished to look like structural timber framing, with reclaimed 8x8 barn beams cut in cross-section and applied to the walls and ceilings along with a lightly hand-troweled wall surface to create a decorative facade. An additional 336 square feet of porch space, built with salvaged cedar posts expands the casita's living area to the outdoors.
Other green features include rainwater catchment for irrigation, xeriscaping, tankless water heater, on site construction debris recycling, Energy Star appliances, programmable thermostat, dual-flush toilets, water-conserving showers & faucets, low-VOC and formaldehyde-free finishes, adhesives, and countertop materials. During construction, all scrap wood & sheetrock was ground up for mulch and scrap wallboard was ground and used as a soil amendment.
Mr. Ferrier built the first LEED Platinum home in Texas and was named the NAHB's 2007 Green Builder Advocate of the Year and Dallas HBA's 2010 Green Builder of Year, and has focused on building sustainable, high-performance homes since the company began in 1984. In fact, the company recently decided that every home it builds will be certified under LEED for Homes, the National Green Building Standard, Energy Star, the DOE's Builders' Challenge and Green Built Texas standards.
For more information about the Zero Energy Casita, visit ZeroEnergyCasita.com