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Wisconsin's First Net Zero Community

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Wisconsin's First Net Zero Community


July 17, 2018
Savannah home plan in Red Fox Crossing, New Berlin, Wisc.
Photo: courtesy Tim O'Brien Homes

This Friday, the first home at Wisconsin's first Net Zero community, Red Fox Crossing, will be introduced. The Savannah model home was built by Tim O'Brien Homes in partnership with Neumann Companies, SunVest Solar Inc., and the City of New Berlin.

The Savannah model home is one of the first of three homes in the state certified by the U.S. Department of Energy as a Zero Energy Ready Home. The home's Home Energy Rating Score (HERS) is 26, using only 26 percent of the energy a home of this size would need according to current building code. According to EEBA, the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance, the HERS system has marketing advantages for builders as it helps educate buyers on, "the True Cost of Homeownership," and promotes understanding of the lower overall costs of high-performance home building. 

Tim O’Brien, president of Tim O’Brien Homes, said in a statement, "Red Fox Crossing has the potential to be the turning point in building a more sustainable community in Wisconsin," adding, "A more holistic approach to high performance and sustainable communities." The three partners worked together to make Red Fox Crossing sustainable. Tim O’Brien Homes focuses on green building and energy efficiency, as the builder has the first National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Emerald Certified home in its portfolio. Neumann has developed more than 3,000 acres of land with 50 percent allocated green space, and SunVest Solar brings solar energy to the community's homes. Matt Neumann, president of Neumann Companies, explained in a statement, “It has always been our dream to offer an energy independent community."

All homes in the 34-lot development will be certified under the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home Program, a well as the ENERGY STAR, WaterSense and Indoor airPLUS programs. Buyer interest has been encouraging. As of May 2018, before drywall work on the model home had even been completed, a full one-third of the homes had been pre-sold. That's seven months after sales opened, which is a faster sale pace than in the builder's other neighborhoods. That success is supported by a four-legged stool that includes the right market, the right land, the right systems and the right message. 

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