Virginia Developer Builds ‘Zero’ Energy Home In Six Months

By Jay Epstein | September 21, 2016

Gap between energy-efficient housing and affordability narrows under new initiative.

Since 1991, builder and developer Jay Epstein has worked to narrow the gap between energy efficient housing and affordable housing.

Recently, Epstein, owner of Health-E Homes Community Enterprises, closed that gap even further by achieving “zero” on a new build.

Part of the Villas of Rocketts Landing in Richmond, VA — a completely solar powered community — the home is the first of twelve to be built under a program developed by TopBuild Home Services’, Inc., Environments For Living® program , in partnership with BASF. The program, named “BEYOND,” aims to increase the efficiency of new homes, all while keeping costs low.

“We’ve worked to build “zero” energy homes for many years,” explained Epstein. “The last home we built scored a 16 on the HERS Index — with the help of BASF and TopBuild Home Services, we were able to achieve ‘zero’ in six months.”

Based on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index, as well as other requirements under the BEYOND program, the home reached the “zero” goal with the help of BASF’s HP+ Wall System, along with a number of other carefully selected performance systems.

For its part, the HP+ Wall reduces thermal bridging, improves air-tightness and increases R-values, improves moisture management, and reduces lumber use by up to 25 percent without sacrificing strength or structural integrity.

“Home buyers have entered a new era of thinking about what their home should be capable of and companies such as BASF hold the technology to make those expectations possible,” commented Epstein.

Ultimately however, the project is an example of how builders can leverage building science expertise and partner with like-minded companies to bring meaningful benefits for buyers — and set a new standard for builders.

“Taking on the exciting challenge of building homes at the BEYOND level, with support from BASF and the Environments For Living program, has further reinforced our commitment to building affordable homes that will perform optimally, provide comfort, and offer ways for the homebuyer to receive savings in the long term.” The homes also come with a ten-year limited heating and cooling energy use and comfort guarantee, pushing savings even further.

Environments For Living will test and perform reviews, monitoring the homes’ construction and certify each home’s Home Energy Rating System (HERS) and BEYOND level achievements.

(757) 928-0275