Does zero energy mean zero cost? Ram Narayanmurthy, technical executive at a nonprofit utility group called Electric Power Research Institute, seeks to answer this question in an on-going, live experiment. The community in question consists of twenty homes, by-products of a collaborative effort from Meritage Homes - expert in building energy-efficient homes – and Electric Power Research. Diane Cardwell, reporter for The New York Times, met with a family that resides in one of the study’s homes. Anthony and Vanessa Genau said that, in their old residence, utilities were so expensive that they’d “rather be cold sometimes than see the bill.” Now, they save roughly $490 in the zero-net energy neighborhood. “It’s not that it cannot be done,” Narayanmurthy said. “The question that we’re trying to answer it, ‘Can it be done for everyone?’” The experiment has expanded to sites to other locations in California, including the state's southern borders, the Bay Area, and the Central Valley.

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