Creating a net zero home is impressive and provides the occupants with strong benefits. Creating a net zero home that redefines how utilities work is amazing.

That’s exactly what Meritage Homes set out to do with the reNEWable Living Home. This 2018 BUILDER Concept project was engineered and designed to use energy in a completely different way.

CR Herro, vice president of environmental affairs at Meritage Homes and the lead on the project, explains that the home thinks about grid optimization along with load management. Through innovation in water heating, an insulated slab, attic insulation, the HVAC and solid, panelized wall systems, the house uses a consistent amount of energy throughout the day.

Herro explains the background of this housing revolution in energy efficiency in this short video.

Meritage Homes also partnered with Duke Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to design a way to monitor the home and understand the energy use. Ram Narayanamurthy, principal program manager at EPRI, shared that a home with the same square footage as the reNEWable Living Home would use 23,910 kilowatt hours annually. By using the Department of Energy’s BeOpt software, Narayanamurthy says the advances of the reNEWable Living Home reduce that by 30% to only 16,887 kilowatt hours per year.

This 30% deduction was captured by putting 100% LED lighting in the reNEWable Living Home, using a heat pump water heater that is three times more efficient than an electric water heater, insulating the slab at an R10 value, using R30 closed cell spray foam insulation in the roof, installing a SEER 18, 9.3 HSPF HVAC system and using the HercuWAll ICF 4-inch solid panelized wall system.    
The groups will continue to study the home to understand the impact on future construction. Duke Energy will release a report on how zero net homes affect the grid at the end of 2018, and MIT is working with EPRI on a thermal analysis based on installed sensors in the home that will be released in a few months.

This home and its innovative design will be on display in January in Orlando. Register here to visit it and experience the evolution of energy efficiency.