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Sacramento's Zero-Energy Home Community

March/April 2006
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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March 02, 2006
The first step in designing a zero-energy home is to significantly reduce the home's overall energy use. The rest is fairly easy.
        A record number of new homes have been built in Sacramento, California, in the past few years. This boom in new-home construction is leading to increased demand for electricity, raising utility bills and taxing local electrical utility systems.While renewable technology exists to make homes that produce as much electricity as they need, these high-tech homes are not yet marketable to the vast majority of homebuyers, who would find the first costs prohibitive. It is possible, though, to make the homes marketable by combining the best practical energy efficiency features with solar electricity. That’s the strategy that the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the customer-owned electricity provider in Sacramento, is using to meet its growing need for residential electricity.         Since 2003, SMUD has been working with DOE’s Building America program through a consortium of industry partners, called the Building Industry Research Alliance (BIRA), to make the latest technology for new homes more readily available to builders. A Building America near-term strategy is to help builders create homes that use 60% less energy, including electricity and gas, on an annual basis compared to similar homes that meet ...

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