DOE Tour of Zero: The Julia Plan by Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley
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Habitat for Humanity of Catawba Valley built this 1,340-square-foot home in Hickory, North Carolina, to the performance criteria of the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program.
Efficiency measures in this home save an estimated $790 per year, giving homeowners energy bills averaging under $70 per month.
Engineered wood siding and 30-year architectural shingles installed over a coated OSB roof decking provide a durable finish to the efficient home.
Rigid foam insulation with taped seams serves as a continuous thermal blanket, comprehensive draft protection, and continuous wall water barrier over the OSB sheathing. Furring strips provide an air gap and drainage plane between the OSB and the engineered wood siding.
The 2-by-4 wall cavities are filled with R-15 of blown fiberglass insulation, which combines with the R-10 exterior rigid foam to provide a continuous thermal blanket of R-25.
Energy-efficient advanced framing details including insulated corners, insulated headers, and ladder blocking for interior wall intersections create more space for wall insulation and reduce lumber costs.
The unvented crawlspace is insulated along the interior of the concrete block walls with rigid foam, while the crawlspace floor is covered with heavy visquene and outfitted with a passive radon venting stack to keep soil gases from accumulating in the home.
The insulated crawlspace is a temperate location for the ducted mini-split heat pump, which heats and cools the home with a heating efficiency of 10 HSPF and a cooling efficiency of 18 SEER.
The conditioned crawlspace also houses the ENERGY STAR-rated dehumidifier (pictured here) and an energy recovery ventilator that delivers fresh air throughout the house.
“The thing that amazes me the most about this house is the fact that we have so much more space, but we pay a fraction of the cost in utilities.”
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“The thing that amazes me the most about this house is the fact that we have so much more space, but we pay a fraction of the cost in utilities. Before we moved, we were living in an 800-square-foot residence and often paying over $200-$225 for utilities. Here, we have more space (over 1,300 square feet), but our utility bill is less than $100.”