DOE Tour of Zero: Morton Road by Sunroc Builders
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Sunroc Builders constructed this 1,407-square-foot home in Lakeland, Florida, to the performance criteria of the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program.
Energy- and water-saving measures incorporated in this affordable home are estimated to save homeowners $695 per year in energy costs and $30,031 over a 30-year mortgage.
The double-pane windows have argon gas between the panes and low-emissivity coatings that help block heat transfer to keep heat inside in cold weather and outside in hot weather.
The hip roof design adds hurricane resistance; the roofing is reflective ENERGY STAR-rated shingles that minimize solar heat gain in the attic.
Drought-tolerant plants and grasses require no permanent water sprinkler system.
The home’s dishwasher, refrigerator, and water heater are ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, while all of the home’s lighting uses advanced LED technology and all of the fixtures are surface mounted. No recessed can lights means less opportunity for conditioned air to leak into the attic.
A heat-pump water heater supplies hot water to the kitchen and bathrooms.
An air-source heat pump is centrally located within the home’s conditioned space to efficiently heat and cool the home.
The home has EPA WaterSense-rated fixtures for increased water conservation.
All of the ductwork is located within the conditioned space of the home to prevent heat loss.
Ceiling fans help the home to feel more comfortable while using less air conditioning.
Hot water runs through an insulated circulation loop under the home’s concrete slab. This technique helps keep water hot when traveling from the hot water heater to the tap.
The foam-filled concrete block walls are lined with foil-faced rigid foam insulation on the interior of the home. Furring strips are installed over the rigid foam and drywall is attached directly to the furring strips. All holes are sealed with tape or caulk.
Solid wood blocking was installed in the walls to accommodate future grab bars in both bathrooms.
Minor modifications were made to a standard home in order to place the ducts inside the home’s conditioned space. Much of the ductwork will be hidden in dropped ceilings in arches that add architectural interest to the home.
Walls were insulated with professionally installed batt insulation.
The high-efficiency windows are caulked to reduce air leaks around the window.
A paint-on flashing is used around the windows and doors for seamless water protection.
The attic has raised heel trusses to allow for full insulation depth at the eaves. Vertical insulation dams were installed in each rafter bay to keep insulation in and wind out of the vented attic.
The vented attic is insulated with a thick blanket of R-38 blown-in fiberglass insulation.
“In past homes I have had higher electric bills and … less comfort.”
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"In past homes I have had higher electric bills and … less comfort. I am more than pleased with the monthly utilities – having seen bills as high as $400 a month in other homes. There is not a single thing I dislike about this home, and we love the quality of the construction."