Building a net-zero home for the long term

A Concord couple designs a home that produces as much energy as it uses—and allow its occupants to easily age in place.

By Jenny Donelan

Harold and Laura Turner had a particularly ambitious list of goals when they set about designing their new house in Concord a few years ago. Like all prospective homeowners, they envisioned a beautiful, comfortable home. But they also wanted to build one that was self-sustaining in terms of energy (a net-zero home), that they could age into and that would serve as a leading-edge example of both kinds of houses—a kind of living laboratory so others could discover how to build more efficient and age-appropriate homes in the future.

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ROSE Cottage Project featured in Proud Green Home

Zero Energy Building construction moving to mainstream

Despite short-term price fluctuations, energy costs will continue to rise over the long term, driving greater interest in building that produce as much or more energy as they consume.

The pace of growth in Zero Energy Building (ZEB) construction will grow even faster than recent estimates done by Navigant Research, who indicates the market growing to $1.4 trillion in 2035, according to William A. (Bill) Turner, PE, LEED AP®, Sr. VP of The H L Turner Group Inc. (Turner Group) and President/CEO of Turner Building Science & Design, LLC.

"What we are experiencing on the ground level is rapid acceleration in the number of owners and builders going towards a Zero Net Energy platform," Turner said. "We are now able to demonstrate cost effective strategies on a wide variety of building types that allow green buildings to also be high performing buildings. The introduction of the LEED rating system clearly helped the green building marketplace to flourish. However, now that the enthusiasm over Gold and Platinum plaques has waned, building owners are more keenly focused on building long-term value into their green buildings. Zero Net Energy buildings are now the new holy grail within the green building construction marketplace."

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The H L Turner Group Inc. Expands Use of Its Patented High Efficiency "E-Max Hybrid™" Solar/Geothermal Heating and Cooling System Design

CONCORD, N.H., Oct. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The H L Turner Group Inc. was awarded a US Patent for its high efficiency  "E-Max Hybrid™" solar/geothermal heating and cooling system design earlier in 2014.   The hybrid design can yield geothermal system performances upwards of a 7.5 effective COP (Coefficient-of-Performance) during optimum conditions, about twice that of conventional geothermal applications.  Average long-term performance over wide operating conditions still exceeds an effective COP above 5.0.  A ground loop geothermal version of the system, designed around standard Bosch Thermotechnology equipment, was recently incorporated into a zero-net-energy residence known as the ROSE Cottage Project, which was designed by The H L Turner Group Inc., and featured on the website.

Harold Turner, Jr., PE, President  & CEO of the Turner Group, commented: "The use of cost-effective hybrid solar/geothermal heating and cooling systems are also widely applicable to commercial, industrial and institutional projects where the larger economy of scale helps to further decrease the front end capital cost/sf of renewable energy features.  We are seeing accelerated applications of new renewable technologies across the country as Zero Net Energy (ZNE); Zero Energy Building (ZEB); and Near Zero Net Energy (NZE) projects continue to proliferate while energy prices continue to rise in a competitive worldwide energy marketplace."

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