Paul Mullins

In order to support the California long-term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, De Young Properties’ energy design process for the 36-home EnVision community in Clovis, Calif. was focused on tackling the obstacles to zero energy home production at scale.

The first of three main challenges was reducing the homes’ energy consumption to the point where the solar array required to achieve zero energy would fit on the rooftops of De Young’s existing floor plans. This required a carefully considered mix of building components and processes, including 2x6 framed walls, performance-sealed attics, and highly efficient electric heat pumps and water heaters.

The homes operate almost entirely on electricity, with only gas cooktops included as standard, to reduce the solar power required to indirectly offset natural gas consumption. Additional green and sustainable features include water-efficient plumbing fixtures, hot water recirculation, and a balanced indoor air quality system.

To ensure none of the single-story homes’ solar systems were shaded by the two-story homes—the project’s second challenge—De Young pre-planned each of the single- and two-story home locations throughout the community, with only certain homes available on certain lots. The builder then addressed the third challenge of reducing upfront energy-efficiency costs by using energy performance modeling to determine a cost-efficient balance between solar offset and energy-efficient improvements.

EnVision is the first zero energy community to open in central California, and was the largest in the state at the time it opened for sales in 2018. While weather and individual homeowner habits may influence actual results, each of EnVision’s homes is able to achieve zero energy within a 12-month period with the proper due diligence.

De Young’s on-site Experience Center provides an overview of EnVision’s building science and technology, including the smart home package that allows users to monitor their home systems and energy use in real-time. This ensures potential buyers are well-educated in the home’s features and equipped to achieve zero energy operation.

Project Details
Architect/Designer: TK Design & Associates / BSB Design
Builder: De Young Properties
Size: 1,764 to 3,822 square feet
Cost: $356,990 to $460,740