DOE Tour of Zero: United Veterans Beacon House by United Way of Long Island
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United Way built this 1,890-square-foot home in Deer Park, Long Island, New York, to the performance criteria of the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program.
The United Way home’s average projected utility bills will be less than $60 a month thanks to a solar photovoltaic system and a high-performance building envelope.
The home uses zero city water for irrigation thanks to an on-site water recycling system that collects shower and sink water for irrigation.
Extra waterproofing details are installed at all windows, and the first floor is slightly elevated to minimize likely impacts from floods.
The home was equipped with a high-efficiency ENERGY STAR-rated refrigerator, dishwasher, and clothes washing machine for energy and water savings.
The home’s high-efficiency windows are double-pane glass with an argon gas fill, and advanced low-emissivity coatings that reduce heat loss in winter and solar heat gain in summer.
The home’s water conservation features include low-flow showerheads and water faucets and EPA WaterSense-rated toilets.
The south-facing roof is equipped with a 6.9-kW solar electric system that helps cut energy costs by nearly $2,600 annually, compared to a similar-sized home built to code.
The home’s fresh air system consists of an energy recovery ventilator that pulls fresh air in through a filter while exhausting stale air to the outside. The two air streams pass through a heat exchanger where heat from the warmer stream is passed to the cool air stream, helping to keep warmth in the home in winter and out of the home in summer.
An energy monitoring system helps residents track energy usage and solar power production.
Space and water heating are both provided by a single high-efficiency, wall-mounted, gas-fired boiler. Combustion air is drawn from outside the home and exhaust gases are expelled directly to the outdoors.
Hot water from the boiler is used to heat air that is distributed through the home using sealed ducts. The ducts are insulated to a value of R-8 and located in the conditioned space of the home to eliminate heat loss.
The builder employed advanced framing techniques that allow more space in the walls for insulation and eliminate wasted wood. Techniques include 2-by-6 studs placed 24-inch rather than 16-inch on center, and 2-stud rather than 3-stud corners. A total exterior wall insulation value of R-42 is achieved in this home.
Sealed and insulated ducts run through the floor trusses to keep ducts inside conditioned space.
Properly installed coated structural sheathing protects the home from moisture damage and serves as an infiltration barrier.
Rigid foam insulation helps to stop moisture from forming inside of walls from condensation in addition to helping to keep indoor temperatures comfortable. The rigid foam is topped with 1-by-3 furring strips to create an air gap and provide for effective water drainage behind the siding.
“The DOE ZERH program is the best solution for the type of housing we produce.”
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“The ZERH provides sustainable energy savings, helping to lower monthly expenses and reducing any ongoing costly maintenance. The DOE ZERH program is the best solution for the type of housing we produce. It is the convergence of the vast knowledge of the national labs coupled with the innovative strategies of the ZERH program components.”
– Rick Wertheim, senior vice-president, Housing & Green Initiatives, United Way of Long Island