Model home construction is under way at a $2 billion master-planned development in Austin that will be the largest zero-energy ready housing community in the nation.
The first neighborhood in Whisper Valley, called Whisper Rising, features homes built by Avi Homes and Pacesetter Homes with prices ranging from the upper $100s to $300s. The two builders have begun construction on about 30 homes ranging in size from 1,200 to 3,100 square feet and are taking reservations for the first 237 homes. Homes will be ready for occupancy early next year.
Located about eight miles east of downtown Austin, Whisper Valley is a 2,062-acre mixed-use development consisting of over 700 acres of open space. Upon completion, clustered "villages" will encompass 7,500 single family and multi-family homes, retail and neighborhood services, restaurants, and commercial development. Each neighborhood is planned with an innovative thermal energy supply system designed to save up to 65% on typical monthly energy usage. Solar roof panels or solar fields will then generate enough energy to achieve zero-energy capable homes, says Douglas Gilliland, president of Taurus of Texas, the project's developer.
"We’ve created a revolutionary approach to developing new home communities in order to offer the latest technology and most energy efficient homes at an amazingly affordable price,” he says. “With this innovative thermal energy supply system, all of our homes will be capable of achieving the carbon-neutral standard promoted by the City of Austin for all new construction homes.”
Community amenities will include a 5,000-square-foot activity center with resort-style pool, creative play areas, a fitness center, multi-purpose event and activity room, a Bosch show kitchen and marketing center served by two electric car docking stations. In addition, the 700-acre Whisper Valley Park will offer community gardens and a planned organic farming program, along with miles of hiking and biking trails.
As the first Google Fiber master-planned community in the world, Whisper Valley will have 1GB Internet providing residents with super fast Internet and unlimited capacity. Energy-saving features include Google Nest smart home systems, geothermal heating and cooling, and high-performance Bosch appliances.