Design Project 1 - Zero Energy Home

Zero Energy Home
Team 5: T-Reks
EDSGN 100 Section 21
Submitted March 10, 2013
Stephen McKenzie:
Raj Desai:
Liz Merlino:
Kawther Al Jashmi:
Early in the semester we were given the task of creating an energy efficient whilst still
affordable home for a typical American family of four. This “Zero-Energy-Home” had a spending budget
up to $160,000 and had to include the technologies to maintain zero energy. One problem we ran into
while constructing our house was using a limited space to incorporate all the necessities that a family
We had several energy efficient appliances in our home, when compared with average
appliances of other homes we found that the appliances in our home were not only much more efficient
than the averages, but our home was situated In such a way that we maximized our solar access. We
managed to nullify our bills by coupling our energy efficient enough appliances with our solar PV system.
To start this project, we at T-REKS had high hopes of a two story mega-building littered with solar panels
and aesthetically pleasing external design qualities. We quickly found out that the budget we were given
would not allow for such an extravagant lifestyle, especially when considering we had not calculated the
expenses of our amenities. In order to eliminate costs, we decided to go with a one story beach-house
like concept. Since our spending was still more than what we had originally anticipated, we began
reducing square footage and repositioning rooms to create as much useable space as possible within our
new limits. Another problem we ran into was the positioning of windows on the southern side of the
house. We wanted to maximize window space while also maintaining privacy in rooms that needed it,
for instance the bathroom, which happens to be on the southern side of the house. We solved this
problem by positioning the window higher on the wall and making the window wider than taller, this
made sure that privacy was kept within the walls of the bathroom. We decided to go with an open
kitchen and living room design because we preferred an open atmosphere opposed to a room by room
office-like layout.
Our house faces the south and we designed our roof with a 30 degree incline to maximize solar
accessibility. Our PV was approximately 4.67 and we decided to build primarily with brick and concrete
(two of the more efficient thermal masses) in order to retain and distribute heat throughout our
premises. Our wall insulation had an R-value of R40 and our ceiling was equipped with R60 insulation so
regardless of the season and temperature outside the home, we could maintain a comfortable living
environment indoors. The entirety of our appliances were energy-star approved and cost-efficient and
after comparing our expenses in that department with the average price of the very same types of
appliances in the typical US home, we found that we had saved over $1,500.
To conclude, we successfully designed, modeled, and created our zero energy home while
spending just under our set financial budget of $160,000. Although we could not find a cost effective
way to build our dream “Mega-Home,” we managed to construct a zero energy home without skimping
out on many of our desired concepts and plans.