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Net-Zero Factory-Built Home Goes Up in New Jersey

Friday, September 9, 2016

By Jennifer Goodman

One of the country's largest modular home builders recently completed a net-zero demonstration home that will provide data over the next 18 months to encourage the development of more efficient, sustainable, and affordable housing.

The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building America Program, with support from the Manufactured Housing Institute and the Systems Building Research Alliance (SBRA), was developed by a Building America project team led by The Levy Partnership (TLP).

The home, manufactured by Champion Home Builders, will be one of few to earn the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) designation, and the first to do so in a cold climate. DOE notes that the ZERH designation “represents a whole new level of home performance, with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health, and durability.”

For the first six months, data will be collected while the home is unoccupied. Then data collection will continue for a year of occupation. These findings then will be applied to new net-zero energy home designs to help refine the design and reduce costs. The home is located at the Pine Tree Manufactured Home Park in Eatontown, a community managed by the Affordable Housing Alliance of Neptune Township, New Jersey.

“To reach net zero energy we need to make sure every component of the home is extremely efficient,” said Emanuel Levy, president of TLP.

The team used an integrated design approach, strategically combining high insulation levels with an ultra-efficient heating and cooling system (incorporating a mini split heat pump) and an innovative system for moving conditioned air throughout the home that does not rely on ducts. The home includes a photovoltaic system, bringing the house to zero energy use on an annual basis.

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