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ZEH Demonstration - Tucson's Zero Energy Home


Zero Energy Home facadeUsing renewable energy from the sun, an energy-efficient building design, and high efficiency equipment, the Zero Energy House developed by the NAHB Research Center and John Wesley Miller Companies is designed to produce as much energy as it consumes - resulting in a net zero energy bill over a year. Just like a typical U.S. home, the Zero Energy Home is connected to the utility grid. However, at some times, the Zero Energy Home will be supplying energy to the utility grid.

Sample Floor PlanThe all electric Zero Energy Home was designed by architect Devereaux and Associates and built by John Wesley Miller Companies in the Armory Park del Sol development in downtown Tucson. The company's standard construction methods in the development exceed the Model Energy Code by 50 percent.

The Zero Energy Home features all the comforts of a typical new home. However, instead of consuming the nearly 10 kilowatt-hours per square foot per year that a typical all-electric new home in Tucson consumes, it is expected to consume no more energy than is produced by the solar energy systems, or about 4 kWh per square foot per year.

The Zero Energy Home was introduced to the public in a Grand Opening Ceremony on Earth Day, April 22, 2003. It sold less than a month later to a couple from Tucson. The energy performance of the home will be monitored for one year by the NAHB Research Center. A summary reportPDF file.  Adobe Acrobat required. of the project is available.

News Brief

These news stories on the Tucson ZEH and community provide a brief insight into the ZEH concept for one builder and homeowner.

John Wesley Miller interview on KUAT-TV
4 minutes, 3.8 MB, Windows Media Player required

"Zero-Energy Homes Becoming More Popular" on ABC World News Tonight
3 minutes, 15 MB, Windows Media Player required

Promotional Materials

What's Next for the Tucson Development?

The next ZEH at Armory Park del Sol is in the planning stage. For a brief review of where we have been and where we are going, see the progress reportPDF file.  Adobe Acrobat required..

Construction Features of the Tucson ZEH

Solid masonry construction
Solid masonry construction which takes advantage of thermal mass to buffer daily temperature swings in the desert climate
Exterior wall insulation
R-14 polystyrene exterior wall insulation
Milgard windows
High efficiency Milgard windows
TechShield radiant barrier roof decking
TechShield Radiant Barrier Roof decking
Fluorescent lamp
Lighting package with Osram Sylvania fluorescent lamps and Nora Lighting fluorescent fixtures
Emerson ceiling fan
Energy efficient ceiling fans by Emerson
Whirlpool kitchen appliancesDuet clothes washer and dryer by Whirlpool
High efficiency Whirlpool appliances, including a Duet washer and dryer
Bathroom light fixtures from Sun Lighting
Decorative fluorescent lighting fixtures and lighting design by Sun Lighting
Solar water and space heating system
An innovative, integrated solar water and space heating system. Solar collectors from SunEarth Inc., provide space and water heating, with backup heat provided by Seisco tankless water heaters.
Studor air admittance plumbing vents
Air admittance plumbing vents by Studor
Photovoltaic panels on the roof
A 4-kW BP Solar photovoltaic array distributed by Conergy (formerly Dankoff Solar) and installed by The Solar Store.
inverters and monitoring equipment
Inverters and monitoring equipment are located in the garage

Carrier air conditioning system with Puron refrigerantCarrier air conditioning outdoor unit
A high-efficiency Carrier air conditioning system with variable speed air handler and Puron® refrigerant
  • Reflective roof coating to reduce attic heat gain
  • R-38 ceiling insulation
  • PEX plumbing system for hot water supply. Manifold provided by Sioux Chief Manufacturing.
  • Panasonic high efficiency bath fans.
  • Kohler bath and kitchen fixtures.
  • The DC-power produced by the solar panels is converved to AC power for use in the home by two, 2500-Watt inverters provided by SMA America.
  • Finishing Touches

    Interior view
    View of the entrance from the great room
    View of the office
    View of the office
    View of bedroom
    View of bedroom
    View from the kitchen
    View from the kitchen
    View of the great room
    View of the great room
    Great Room windows
    Great room windows
    View from the hall
    View of great room
    from the hall
    solar-powered water fountain
    water fountain