The Craftsman style house blends in with other homes in Cobblestone Estates, a trendy Ohio Township, PA, neighborhood. But the Best Practices Research Alliance (BPRA) Lab Home will never be accused of following the crowd. Built by S&A Homes in partnership with IBACOS, a Pittsburgh-based building sciences consulting firm, this net-zero energy home is expected to pave the way toward eradicating homeowner’s energy bills.
The four-bedroom home will serve as a life-sized laboratory over the next three years as experts monitor multiple HVAC systems and building practices. S&A Homes and IBACOS hope to prove that a family-friendly home that blends into a typical neighborhood can stand out in terms of energy usage and environmental friendliness.
“S&A has been dedicated to innovations over the last 20 years and the lab home is simply the next step in the evolution towards achieving the ultimate in energy efficient homes,” said Chris Schoonmaker, Vice President of Sales at S&A Homes. “We also understand that no matter how much a homebuyer wants to save on energy bills or help the environment, homes must be affordable, stylish and in the right location.”
While not at net-zero, the S&A E-Home, debuted in 2009, cuts the average homeowner’s monthly energy bills by $150 when compared to similarly sized, 10-year-old homes. Some of the ENERGY STAR™ qualified E-Home’s features include 2×6 exterior construction, ultra low-e windows, 90% CFL lighting, high performance HVAC systems and recycled materials.
The Lab Home takes energy efficiency to a new level by incorporating innovations like a horizontal loop ground source heat pump system. The Home’s 8” thick exterior walls, built from staggered 2x4s and filled with R-40 insulation, introduce another innovation that provides extra protection from Northeastern winters. Solar panels gather energy during the summer to power the home, plus earn credit on utility bills. The credit should pay for energy during winter months, essentially equaling zero energy used.
“With lessons learned from the Lab Home, we hope homebuyers everywhere will have the ability to move beyond our current E-Home standards to zero-energy lifestyles,” said Schoonmaker
About S&A Homes
S&A Homes has helped more than 15,000 families make their dreams a reality by focusing value, customer service and superior construction. The new home builder currently operates in 65 communities throughout Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For more information, please visit www.sahomebuilder.com/ehome.