DOE Tour of Zero: Isler Residence by Clifton View Homes
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This custom home built on Whidbey Island in Washington state by Clifton View Homes is a certified U.S. DOE Zero Energy Ready Home that will save its homeowners more than $2,500 a year compared to a home built to minimum code.
The 2,908-square-foot home was designed with the majority of the windows facing south to take advantage of the Puget Sound views, natural comfort, and daylight.
The roof design of this solar-electric-ready home has enough south-facing area to hold at least a 9 kW solar photovoltaic system, which can meet the electric needs of both the home and a car. All of the wiring is in place for solar panels on the rooftop and an electric vehicle charging station in the garage.
Solar window shading uses deep overhangs and covered porches to block out much of the high overhead summer sun while allowing in beneficial low winter sun.
The home’s dry-by-design wall construction includes structural insulated panel walls with sealed seams covered by corrugated house wrap and naturally durable stained cedar and stone cladding.
Solar window shading details include the roof overhang protecting the balcony, which in turn shades the windows below it.
The water-saving landscape design uses only native and drought-tolerant plants for zero-water irrigation.
Even on cloudy days, light pours in through the south-facing windows to fill the home with natural daylight.
All of the floors consist of scored, stained, and sealed concrete, which provides thermal mass that avoids overheating during the day and stored heat at night as a critical part of the home’s natural comfort system.
The home’s concrete floors absorb heat from the sun during the day and radiate that warmth back into the home at night, providing a natural comfort balancing system that reduces the home’s electric heating and cooling loads.
Advanced solid-state and compact fluorescent lighting technology and ultra-efficient appliances help contribute to low utility bills.
The ultra-efficient dishwasher, clothes washer, and refrigerator are not only ENERGY STAR-rated but also the lowest energy-use products in their respective categories.
The stained and scored concrete flooring stores and releases natural heat and delivers radiant floor heat from an ultra-efficient geo heat pump.
The home is equipped with several ENERGY STAR-labeled high-efficiency ceiling fans.
All of the paints and stains in the home are certified low-/no-VOC finishes to help ensure a healthful indoor environment and to comply with the requirements of the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS program.
Although many Pacific Northwest home builders install air conditioners in new homes, this home uses a combination of alternative technologies including ceiling fans, operable windows, passive thermal mass cooling, and an innovative fresh air cooling system that uses fans to draw in cool morning air and exhaust excess heat out of the home.
The home’s ultra-efficient, triple-pane windows have insulated fiberglass frames and special clear coatings that minimize the transfer of heat through the glass.
Water-saving fixtures reduce both water and energy use.
The structural insulated panel (SIP) construction provides inherently airtight walls and an attic that is enhanced with spray foam sealing at the rim joists for comprehensive draft protection.
When the seams of the panels are sealed with caulk or tape, the SIP panels used for both the walls and roof provide a whole-house draft barrier.
The nearly 10-inch-thick (R-41) SIP roof panels provide ultra-efficient attic insulation.
The SIP construction system panels come to the site precut for quick assembly and provide a continuous thermal blanket around the home.
An ultra-efficient layer of R-20 rigid foam foundation insulation covers the ground underneath the vapor barrier to reduce heat loss from the radiant floor loop in the slab floor.
“The warm floors from the in-floor radiant heat and sun-warmed concrete are a delight.”
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"What I love most about the home is the uniform temperature year-round. The summer months remain evenly cool and during the winter months there are no drafts or cold spots ... The warm floors from the in-floor radiant heat and sun-warmed concrete are a delight. And on anticipated warm summer days, turning on the air [ventilation] system for a short time to let in cool morning air provides comfort for the rest of the day."
– Clifton View homeowner