Pulte's new "invisible" home may not be fit for a superhero, but that’s kind of the point; zero net energy homes shouldn’t be special, they should be the norm. The invisible house is being designed and built to be a zero net energy home that will act as a prototype to help the company understand how to create net-zero homes at high volumes while maintaining quality and cost effectiveness. Basically, transforming them from a novelty available for a select few to a widespread option for all.
According to the company’s website, the home has been designed and built as part of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Zero Net Energy Production Builder Demonstration program, of which Pulte is the largest participating builder. The program is meant to build new homes that maximize utility grid load reduction and is a big piece of the puzzle in California’s goal of all new residential construction being zero net energy by 2020.
The home attempts to reach its net-zero goals through a combination of airtight building methods, highly efficient insulation, HVAC, lighting technologies, and on-site solar energy production. After it is purchased and the owners move in, the home will be monitored for 12 months to evaluate its performance and identify things that can be changed or advanced in the future.