A home built in New Mexico, US, is expected to run entirely from the electricity generated from energy harvested by its nine 230 W solar panels. The Taoshouse also has a number of design features to help keep power usage to a minimum.
Like the Active House prototype in Missouri, US, the Taoshouse is designed to look and feel like a normal home and not some futuristic box. Located in a senior co-housing community in the town of Taos, the Taoshouse has a clean interior aesthetic with plaster walls and floor-to-ceiling bamboo casement work. Both projects show the potential for net-zero energy housing.
Project designer Needbased says that part of the brief for the Taoshouse design was to ensure that it would achieve Passive House Certification and meet the highest level of the National Association of House Builders (NAHB) green building standard. According to Needbased, the house has achieved both of these goals and, as such, is one of only a handful of North American buildings to be certified by the Passive House Institute in Germany.
The Taoshouse has an internal area of 1,632 sq ft (152 sq m) and covers a total area of 2,870 sq ft (267 sq m). It can pull electricity from the grid if needs be, or feed any surplus back into the grid. To date, the home has had an energy usage of 1.87 kWh / sq ft (20.13 kWh / sq m).
"Over the past ten months since the project was completed, the house has used 3,100 kWh and generated 2,800 kWh," Jonah Stanford of Needbased tells Gizmag. "The first year of energy use is expected to be higher than the norm due to the latent energy of the moisture of all the building materials used. I expect the overall energy use to come down slightly after the building has fully dried out."
The house is kept cool using passive shading and night-sky cooling. In order to minimize heat loss, it is highly insulated in the walls, under slab and roof and employs high performance Zola windows.
An energy recovery ventilator is used to condition incoming air with air that is being exhausted from the building. This means incoming air can be warmed and dehumidified, for example. An underfloor hydronic radiant system, meanwhile, is used to heat the building.
The Taoshouse was completed earlier this year.