Bruce Eugene Davis, Sivad Home, Applied Building Science, Home Designer, Energy Consultant, Home Owner - 1995 to present
R-Anell Custom Homes, Builder - 1995
Jack Orum, Design Aire, HVAC Design and Installation, Owner & Installer, Service - 1995 to 2007
North Carolina Green Power, provides off-site sustainably produced electricity, billed through Electric Utility - 2006 to present
Tom Honey, Honey Electric Solar, PV Design and Installation, Owner & Installer, Service - 2011 and 2015
It is now February of 2016 and at Scionwood Retreat, Kathryn and I have lived in a 100% sustainable sourced Net Zero Energy Home since 2006. It happened instantaneously nearly 10 years ago in September of that year. I will share our story with you and maybe it will encourage others to consider our Alternative Approach to becoming a Net Zero Energy Home. An approach that is available to all homeowners tomorrow.
In 1996 we moved into our modestly built but high performance HUD Code doublewide home built on a properly closed crawl space foundation. A building that was our private demonstration that any home can achieve a much higher percentage of its total potential if a few key elements of its building envelope and mechanical systems are actually properly completed as intended. You can read a short account of this approach to construction by reviewing, "The House that Bruce Built" at www.sivadhome.com. Additionally there is an addendum listing Enhancements to the original construction that have taken place over the years since the original construction. Yes we have lived in a very comfortable, durable, healthy, and energy efficient home now for 20 years.
With the above material as the backdrop, we arrive at September 2006 in our ten year old home. Kathryn and I had been to watch the Al Gore inspired film, An Inconvenient Truth. As we walked out Kathryn said, "I wish that we could personally do something". At that point I said well maybe we can; let me do some calculations when we get home. Once home I added up the kWh from our utility bills for the previous 12 months for our all electric home which includes an electric water well pump. In our state of North Carolina we had and continue to have a home grown sustainable energy production program called NC Green Power. The organization recruits and pays providers to produce sustainable electricity and feed it into the electricity grid. It also recruits customers who want to use sustainable energy and sells them blocks of 100kWh for $4.00 each.
We divided our total kWh needed annually by 12 months. Ten blocks would not meet our need but eleven blocks more that met our requirement. We filed our request for NC Green Power to provide us with eleven blocks of electricity for $44.00 per month and poof we were a 100% equivalent sustainable energy home. Each month the electric utility bill arrives with all the electric company's charges on it plus an additional NC Green Power charge for $44.00. We make one payment and all is done. If you want to be more technical and want to address electricity transmission and distribution losses which the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates at an average of 6% then according to my calculations we could have been at times only a 99% sustainable home in any given year. However as you will see we addressed that in subsequent years and actually became a home providing substantially more energy than we needed even when counting line losses.
In 2011 we added onsite a 3.5KW solar electric panel array with battery backup. At that time we continued to purchase the eleven blocks of NC Green Power to help cover some of the other toes of our overall carbon footprint. In 2015 we added an additional 3.4KW array and reduced to five our purchase of NC Green Power. On an annual basis we now produce more than 66% of our kWh needs on site. With our NC Green Power purchase we continue to provide more kWh than we need for our home. We have benefited from already having a reasonably efficient home. Some homeowners may need to start with work that improves the efficiency of their home. Others may want to start down both paths at the same time. Deciding to actually take steps toward the goal is the important element.
There are several important aspects of our initiation of this Alternative Approach to achieving a Net Zero Energy Home to consider. We did not need to have a large financial investment. We did not need to figure out what equipment to purchase. We did not need to maintain any equipment. And we did not need to find a qualified contractor. If you use a combination of fossil fuel and electricity in your home, there are conversion formulas that will provide the total equivalent amount of Sustainably produced kWh for which you will need to contract. Purchase the necessary amount of sustainable energy monthly from any number of available sources and take an important step that improves the potential for humans on this earth.
Our home could be located anywhere and be of any orientation or construction type.
It is an approach that is compatible with the realities of families that have less financial resources but who want to be a part of and help build our sustainable energy future.
Since we began in 2006 we have influenced a few others to pursue our path. We hope that our sharing in this format will encourage additional participation.
Please consider pursuing this purchased power option as a valid approach to achieve a Net Zero Energy Home for yourself. Additionally, please consider encouraging others to support and pursue this as a valid alternative approach.
Pittsboro, North Carolina
single family residence - HUD Code doublewide
Basis of Performance Claim
Conditioned Floor Area
1,792 sq ft
Energy Data Type
Renewable Energy System Type(s)
Annual renewable energy generated
Envelope and Mechanicals
Foundation wall assembly
Concrete footers were poured for all the concrete block piers that carry the weight of the home from the I-Beams and for the parameter brick curtain wall that totally encloses the properly closed crawl space. Prior to pouring the concrete for the parameter footer the tie-down anchors were augered into the footer trench.
The single brick width curtain wall foundation is not insulated. Its height ranges from 3.5 to 4.5 feet tall.
The home is 28 feet wide and 64 feet long.
Above grade wall assembly
2x6 wall assembly with R-19 fiberglass batts. The interior surface is 1/2 inch sheetrock and the exterior is 1/2 inch OSB with vinyl siding
foam core filled steel door [3' 0" x 6' 8"] with one third of its area being an insulated glass sandwich fixed window light