Suburban house to demonstrate net-zero energy usage
The opening of a suburban house doesn’t usually warrant a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but a new house constructed in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is special. Built for the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the typical-looking suburban home is designed to provide researchers with a place to test various high-efficiency and alternative energy systems, materials and designs. As a result, the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF), as it is known, is expected, over the course of a year, to generate as much energy as a family of four living in it would consume in that period.
Built to U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum standards using almost entirely U.S.-made materials and equipment, the NZERTF is a two-story, four-bedroom, three-bath facility that incorporates energy-efficient construction and appliances, as well as solar water heating and solar photovoltaic systems for energy generation.
No people will actually be allowed to enter the house during its first year of operation, which is intended to demonstrate net-zero energy usage. However, lights will turn on and off at specified times and hot water and appliances will be run. Small devices will also emit heat and humidity to replicate conditions if humans were present.
Weather permitting, the solar PV systems will be used to power the house’s lighting and appliances, with excess energy fed back into the local utility grid via a smart electric meter. At times when the energy from the solar PV systems doesn’t meet the demands of the house, electricity will be drawn from the grid. However, it is expected that this will be more than offset over the course of the year by the energy fed into the grid on sunny days.
The facility was opened this week and NIST researchers will make data from the net-zero experiment available online to allow researchers and the public to track its progress.
“Results from this lab will show if net-zero home design and technologies are ready for a neighborhood near you,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. “It will also allow development of new design standards and test methods for emerging energy-efficient technologies and, we hope, speed their adoption.”
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DIY- why spend my tax money.
Also check out the Energy savings on renovations to the Empire State Building.
So you think a scientific approach to the matter is a waste of time and tax money? Better to do whatever we do without any underlying, systematic research where different measures can be compared as fairly as possible? The people at NIST are no more scientifically credible than DIYers?
".. (it) will be used to test *various* high-efficiency and alternative energy systems, materials and designs".
Next time you have a cold may I recommend a frog's tongue poultice?
This test eliminates the human variable(s) and gives said useful information.
Only the front porch??? If you look at the rather large roof on top of the main house it appears to be covered in Photovoltaic panels, hence all the wiring shown in the photos. The "porch" only has solar hot water collectors, and there's a limit to how much hot water can be used domestically during the day.
@Prometheus: "Should every household make its own food?"
And why not? The human race has been doing that for thousands of years. Yours is probably the first generation which doesn't realise (or has forgotten) that it can be done.
"Build its own car?"
Why have a car? A bicycle or electric tricycle covers the vast majority of transport needs (as opposed to wants). Solar powered is even better.
"There will never be economies of scale in power production if it is broken up into small non-robust parts.
I like the idea of it, but I think economically it does not make sense."
This is why our photovoltaic panels are being made in China. The world is already on the verge of forgetting that over-concern about "economics" (ie getting things as cheaply as possible, regardless of the cost - to somebody else) is what led to the Global Financial Crisis. A little more concern for the environment and individual self-sufficiency would have meant much less pain in the long run.