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July 24, 1999

Southern California Edison, Beazer Homes and Product Manufacturers Team Up to Build America's "Next Generation Home" Today

ceiling construction photo

A PATH demonstration home with off-the-shelf technologies that can that can save energy, improve comfort and wire the home for the future opened July 23 in Beazer Homes' new Heather Hills community in Simi Valley, CA.

The showcase home features technologies that when used together are expected to yield a solid 35 percent reduction in electrical energy costs. It is a joint venture of Beazer Homes of Southern California, Southern California Edison, and PATH. PATH's participation in the Simi Valley endeavor reflects the initiative's commitment to accelerate the use of new, market-ready technologies in home design and construction.

Gregg Ander, chief architect for Southern California Edison said, "The technologies on-display make possible the design and construction of Southern house construction photo California homes that provide greater comfort at lower energy costs." He said. "The energy-saving techniques used to build this demonstration home are available today to consumers and their contractors."

Gary Gafford, Beazer Homes construction manager for Heather Hills, said, "Most of these innovation occupy less than five percent of their potential market. By putting them all together we will show builders across the country the economic value of deploying the advanced technologies that meet both homebuyers' and builders' goals."

Buildings systems experts and industry representatives designed the Heather Hills demonstration home. The plan called for reduced energy operating costs without sacrificing indoor air quality and comfort; to improve the house's thermal performance; to integrate renewable energy technologies as well as the most advanced information technologies; and finally to be "user/friendly" to such state-of-the-art technologies as electric vehicles.

New technologies and products included in the home include:

  • High Performance Glazing: The double-glazed, Low-E glass in the home allows daylight into the home but greatly reduces the amount of heat entering the house.
  • House Wrap Below the Stucco: This whole-house membrane wrap reduces the amount of hot or cold air infiltrating the house.
  • Duct Work Inside the Insulation: By installing the duct work inside the insulation, air-conditioning or heating is not lost to the outside.
  • High-Efficiency Heat Pumps: All the building changes reduced the size of the mechanical equipment required by 36%. High efficiency heat pumps that use a non-CFC, environmentally-friendly refrigerant were installed. The equipment is controlled with an advanced programmable thermostat.
  • Dedicated Fresh Air Intake: Duct work brings in fresh air to the home continuously.
  • High-Efficiency Appliances: All the appliances in the home are state-of-art, energy-efficient appliances.
  • High-Efficiency Lighting: All of the lights in the home use the latest in compact fluorescent technology, in many instances simply replacing the incandescent bulbs in fixtures with new fluorescent bulbs. The fluorescent bulbs typically use 25 percent of the energy a conventional incandescent bulb would.
  • Photovoltaic Powered Attic Fan: Using only the sun's energy, the photovoltaic attic fan extracts heat from the attic when the sun's rays are hottest.
  • Advanced Home Wiring: Using a bundled telephony and cable wiring system, all the rooms in the home are connected in an information network for home computing and remote control of the home's systems. Lights in the home can be programmed for safety and security.
  • Rooftop Hot Water Solar Collector: The home has the latest technology for using the sun to preheat the domestic hot water supply, using only the water pressure in the pipes. The solar collector, no bigger than a skylight, has no moving parts.
  • Healthy Interior Finishes: The paint in the home meets the Green Seal standard for emissions. The cabinetry is carefully designed to encapsulate emissions from the wood.
  • Electric Car Charging Equipment: The home is wired for an electric car charging station in the garage.
  • Deck Made with TREX: The deck is made with TREX, plastic wood composite of 30 to 50 percent recycled plastic with wood fibers.

Industry partners in the venture include Carrier Corporation, DuPont, General Electric, Lucent Technologies, Progress Lighting, Real Goods, Regency Windows, SunEarth, Inc., and Technical Consumer Products

Southern California Edison, in conjunction with the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will monitor the "Test Home" and a "Standard Home" of the same design, but without the advanced features. Edison is applying the most sophisticated energy efficiency and sustainability methods currently available for design analysis and post-occupancy evaluation. Results will be available to builders.

For directions to Heather Hills call (805) 577-0606.


Contact PATH at 202-708-4277 for more information.

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