April 20, 2010 / The Citizen
Imagine, if you can, not getting a gas bill in the winter that reaches triple figures. Imagine a summer without sky-high electric bills.
Imagine if your home actually generated as much energy as it consumed.
Experts say that the technology exists to do just that. The challenge is building a home that is affordable and esthetically pleasing at the same time.
The next challenge is doing it in a place that does not have a lot of sun, but does have very cold winters and very hot summers.
Both challenges will be taken on by Integrated Building and Construction Solutions (IBACOS) and its Best Practices Research Alliance, who will construct the first of several “zero energy lab homes” in Ohio Township’s Cobblestone Estates.
The Pittsburgh-based IBACOS will partner with Cobblestones builder S&A Homes and developer The Meritage Group, along with a number of trades and suppliers, to construct the house that will be used for research purposes for at least the next three years. Even after it becomes someone’s home, it will continue to provide information that IBACOS partner and co-founder Michael Dickens believes “will change the face of homes in America.”
Lab home program manager Kevin Brozyna said that by focusing on energy conservation and green building standards and materials, research indicates that the time is right to build a “safe, comfortable and durable home” that produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. The lab home will help develop the information builders need to create those homes. “We’re trying to narrow the knowledge gap that exists in the industry,” Brozyna said.