A tighter building envelope reduces the amount of air transfer
between indoors and outdoors. The prototype includes a building envelope design that provides high thermal performance and long-term durability, while also reducing material use (and waste). Sealing the home envelope to minimize air leakage is a key component of the Pulte prototype. Air leakage will improve (be reduced) by approximately 30 percent - going from 5 to 3.5 ACH50.
The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is a standard by which a home's energy efficiency is measured, developed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). A HERS score is used to help compare the energy efficiency of a Pulte home to both a typical existing home and a typical new home. Pulte retains certi?ed independent HERS energy raters to provide energy ef?ciency ratings for homes as designed. The targeted HERS rating for the Pulte prototype is Zero. The lower the home's HERS score, the more energy-efficient it is. Click here
for a video and to find out more.
One of the most influential components of achieving a
zero net target in the prototype is the process of insulating at the roof deck of the home, versus the ceiling line. Insulating the prototype home at the roof deck keeps the attic significantly cooler. Box netting is used to suspend insulation at the roofline. Because the attic becomes conditioned space, roof and attic vents are eliminated and heating and cooling loads are reduced on the HVAC.
Fresh air is introduced 24/7 in the prototype via a continuous-running exhaust fan in the laundry room, plus the introduction of fresh air from an outside air duct that is detected through automatic sensors. Even though the fan runs at all times, the system is so efficient that it provides higher than normal quality of indoor air and still saves electricity. To help remove contaminants from indoor air, the prototype includes a high-end air filtration system with a 5-inch thick, pleated, MERV 16 filter, which is equivalent to a medical-grade filter that removes much smaller particles from the air.
The prototype has a Lennox high efficiency, Seer 19, multi-sp
eed heating and air conditioning system. The Lennox heat pump is being used instead of a gas furnace, to transfer the air conditioning load to 100 percent electric, which also results in zero VOCs released into the environment. The home includes Wi-Fi-based “smart” thermostats that control fresh air induction and provides more control and convenience with remote capabilities.
This prototype takes the tankless hot water heater to the next level with a high efficiency integrated, on-demand Rinnai recirculation pump that eliminates water waste. Tankless water heaters heat water on demand as opposed to traditional storage-type water heaters. In addition to a sensitive flow switch that detects demand for hot water, the prototype also incorporates an integral hot water recirculation pump that charges a dedicated and insulated hot water loop with hot water, reducing the volume of water wasted at each fixture while waiting for hot water to arrive. A wireless switch is provided at the kitchen sink and in the master bathroom that initializes the pump, which runs until a water temperature sensor detects an increase of approximately seven degrees. The sensor then shuts the pump off.
VOCs will be significantly reduced or eliminated in the prototype home with the use of a heat pump that provides combustion-free heating and cooling, no-VOC paint, laminate and tile flooring creating increased indoor air quality. VOCs are Volatile Organic Chemicals in some products such as paint and flooring.
Even though the prototype home is significantly more energy efficient than a traditional home, an important feature is energy production.
Pulte is partnering with SolarCity
, the nation’s leading solar power provider, to equip the prototype home with a next generation solar system: an estimated 14-panel, 4.34 kilowatt solar array. According to SolarCity, the state of the art solar panels expected to be utilized for the system are SolarCity’s high-efficiency rooftop solar panels that will be made in the United States. Homeowners will see the benefits of these panels in two ways:
- The high-efficiency design allows for more power production from a single solar panel, making it possible for SolarCity to install a solar power system that doesn’t take up as much roof space as a traditional design might, but still provides all the power a home needs.
- The solar panels are designed to be aesthetically pleasing for homeowners. The sleek, black panel design combined with SolarCity’s proprietary mounting system work together to create a solar system that integrates seamlessly with the home’s current roofline and aesthetics.
To keep the prototype cooler and use less electricity, LED can lights will be installed in all locations; and decorative LED fixtures will b
e included in areas such as bathroom vanities, kitchen, under cabinet lighting, and coach lights. LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) generate little heat, consume a fraction of the electricity of traditional lighting (which is beneficial for the cooling loads for the HVAC system in the summer), are higher efficiency, and have a life span dramatically longer than incandescent and fluorescent lamps.
The prototype home will include a Site Sage monitoring system that will track the actual use of switches, outlets, major appliances and lighting in the home. The real-time readings will monitor how many kilowatt hours are used and allow specific use to be monitored and evaluated. This system helps lower electric bills by providing automatic cost, and usage and appliance performance feedback by monitoring up to 24 individual circuits including the two mains.
Low-e coatings on vinyl windows to reduce energy loss by as much as 30 to 50% compared to regular windows. (Also provide up to 95 percent UV ray blockage).
- An enhanced load and breaker configuration has been designed to monitor separate loads and circuits. Tracking specific locations will assist in identifying unusual use and help influence future designs.
- Energy efficient, Energy Star rated appliances (cabinet-depth refrigerator that includes a feature that turns on an energy saving mode if not opened for 24 hours), induction cooktop, and gas front-loading dryer.
- Low water use fixtures and appliances.