A Net Zero home is one that generates enough electricity to run a home with no or little cost for an entire year. Fort Myers based Marvin Homes recipe for Net Zero construction includes readily available components, both high tech and common. These components are melded together to achieve a synchronized system that on some days will provide an excess of electricity which in turn can be sold to the local power company. We designed our Craftsman home with the thought that we would take a unique early 20th century style of construction and make it a high performance 21st century home.
Marvin Development Corporation is not new to innovation or energy efficient construction. Marvin Homes has been southwest Florida’s leader in energy efficient construction for well over 30 years and have built more energy efficient homes than any other local builder. 1982 in Cape Coral we certified our 100th “Good Cents” home. Since that time we have built over a thousand energy savings homes in Cape Coral and Fort Myers.
We had several challenges to overcome when we were in the planning stages of our Net Zero home. Namely: finding the right group of cost effective energy savings components. We have achieved this. We use a high efficiency air conditioning system, a waste heat recovery system, icynene foam insulation in the attic, rigid foam sidewall insulation, tinted windows, and a 6kw photovoltaic system.
A super high efficiency heat pump is used for cooling and heating. When cooling a heat pump will take the heat that is present in the home and transfer it to the outside. Heat builds up in the home in many ways. Our bodies generate heat, all electrical components in the home radiate heat, a range used for cooking and even a small light bulb are heat generators. All this heat is transferred to the outside. In our Net Zero Craftsman home we use an 18.5 SEER heat pump.
Waste Heat Recovery Unit
A heat recovery system is another type of pump. Plumbing pipes are connected to the homes water heater and water is circulated past the heat pumps outside coils. It collects that heat from the coils and heats the water providing, effectively providing the home with free hot water.
Insulation is key in building a Net Zero home and we use a special insulation. Icynene is a sprayed on foam insulation. It is applied directly to the bottom of the roof, sealing the attic space. With this type of insulation, the attic space becomes part of living space. The AC ductwork that ordinarily is in a very hot attic is now in air-conditioned space. The ductwork no longer loses cold air to a hot attic, greatly increasing the effectiveness of the AC system.
Rigid Foam Sidewall Insulation
We use sheets of foil-backed insulation on the block walls. The insulation value is not only higher than the norm, but the way we use the insulation reduces or even eliminates hot air infiltration into the home.
In Florida, tinted windows are one of the most effective ways of keeping the suns heat from the inside of the home. The suns rays are reflected away. The added benefit of keeping the suns rays out is that our furniture, drapes, and other inside materials will not fade as readily.
This simple little invention goes a long way in helping our Craftsman home become a Net Zero home. Programming the AC system to operate when we are home and to shut off when we are away is a simple and effective way of saving energy.
All appliances have the Energy Star emblem and are certified energy efficient. Use of fluorescent bulbs will not only use less electricity, but will also generate less heat than a standard bulb and therefore will take some of the workload off the AC system.
The most important part of a Net Zero home is the energy producing components. We use photovoltaic panels that provide 6KW of power on a sunny day. We use a high tech system to route the power through inverters and will provide enough power to operate the house on a sunny day. When no one is at home to use energy the excess power is sold to the local power company.
With these components installed in our Craftsman the end result is a unique home that has electrical needs that cost just $.59 per day. The environmental footprint is significantly reduced and the home is healthier and more comfortable than an ordinary home. That is Net Zero construction.