DOE Tour of Zero: Via del Cielo by Palo Duro Homes
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Palo Duro built this 2,215-square-foot home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the performance criteria of the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program.
The stucco cladding covers energy-saving wall framing with 2-by-6 studs spaced 24-inch on-center that are sealed at all seams with sealant and filled with R-21 of blown fiberglass. A double layer of tar paper provides a drainage plane over the sheathing that allows water to drain even when the stucco bonds to the first layer.
High-efficiency ENERGY STAR appliances add to the water and energy savings.
Compact fluorescent lights provide high-efficiency lighting without adding heat while ENERGY STAR-rated ceiling fans provide efficient cooling through air flow.
Rigid foam insulation is used to wrap the exterior foundation walls and under the perimeter of the slab for more significant energy savings and more comfortable floors.
The home’s second-story rooms stay warm in winter and cool in the summer thanks to extensive air sealing with a sprayer-applied sealant that stops air leaks at framing seams and holes in the attic while a thick blanket of blown fiberglass in the attic provides an R-75 layer of thermal protection.
The certified EPA Indoor airPLUS home uses low- and no-VOC paints, finishes, wood products, and carpets to help minimize indoor air pollutants while an energy recovery ventilator operates continuously to provide fresh filtered air throughout the home.
While ceiling fans and open windows may provide enough cooling during Santa Fe’s shoulder seasons, ultra-efficient mini-split heat pumps (16.5 SEER, 9.5 HSP) are ducted to provide warm and cool air to every room in the house during the winter and summer months.
Water-saving EPA WaterSense-labeled plumbing fixtures reduce water consumption and energy used to heat water with the 95% efficient tankless water heater.
Palo Duro emphasizes comfort and indoor air quality in its marketing displays and believes its 100% commitment to DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes has helped the company to become a leader in every market it serves.
“In our markets, we are either the leading builder or in the top three.”
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“Since we only build 100% zero energy-ready homes, our entire business plan is based this. Our measure of success is sales. In our markets, we are either the leading builder or in the top three. Since going 100% zero energy ready, we have seen our average sales price increase by $30,000!”
– Tom Wade, Palo Duro Homes