The Alliance for Residential Building Innovation is one of 10 multidisciplinary teams chosen by the Department of Energy and the Building America program to deliver innovative energy efficiency strategies to the residential market and address barriers to bringing high-efficiency homes within reach for all Americans. Led by Davis Energy Group, Inc. of Davis CA, ARBI includes consulting firms, nonprofits, educational institutions with a broad range of expertise to bring energy efficiency upgrades to existing homes and new energy efficient technologies to new homes.
- FEATURED: Journey to a Zero Net Energy Community
Achieving a Zero Net Energy goal in residential and commercial buildings presents financial, transactional, and technology challenges. However, as the cost of photovoltaic systems falls and knowledge of better building practices improves, zero net energy buildings are becoming more attainable. Zero net energy can be more economically accomplished when it is treated as an imperative and the effort is undertaken on a community scale.
A case in point, the UC Davis West Village community opened its doors to students in October 2011, becoming the largest planned zero net energy community in the U.S. Built by a private development team on UC Davis property, the community is designed to produce as much energy as it consumes on a net annual basis by blending energy efficient design and on-site renewables. When complete the community will house 3,000 students and provide 343 new homes for faculty and staff.
The Alliance for Residential Building Efficiency is conducting specific research on this revolutionary project to better guide future community scale zero net energy efforts.
- FEATURED: The SEED House
A home built by La Mirada Homes in Tucson is demonstrating that radiant floor heating and cooling combined with an efficient building enclosure holds much promise as an affordable dry climate solution for energy savings and comfort. Named by Builder Michael Ginsberg the “Super Energy Efficient Demonstration” (SEED) house, the house has been living up to its name. The house combines a practical, affordable, and attractive enclosure that includes SIP walls, a tight envelope, and standard high performance windows with a novel mechanical system. The efficiency of the enclosure works together with the mass of the slab and embedded tubing to keep daily indoor temperature swings within 3-4°F. An air-to-water heat pump delivers hot or chilled water to the slab, activating its thermal the mass to maintain comfortable indoor conditions. Two factors contribute to improved heat pump efficiency, the reduced thermal lift required due to the moderate water temperatures required, and the ability to heat and cool at times when outdoor temperatures are most favorable to heat pump performance. The Alliance for Residential Building Innovation is collecting information from the SEED House to determine the long-term cost effectiveness, marketability, and viability of such houses for hot dry climates.