Herriman • Imagine your total monthly utility bill being no more than a single trip to the movies — by yourself.
Garbett Homes and home-automation company, Vivint, have partnered to introduce a home that is so energy efficient, it consumes as much energy as it produces.
A "net-zero" house, meaning it’s so efficient it doesn’t waste any energy, is not new for the super rich. But this new home that both companies are showing off in Herriman is the first of its kind that’s priced for more average buyers.
The three-story, five-bedroom home at 5047 W. Ambermont Drive is the first attainable, or affordable, house in Utah that achieves a U.S. Dept. of Energy HERS (House Energy Rating System) rating of 0. A typical new home has a rating of a 100 in terms of energy efficiency (the lower the rating the better).
"It means your utility bill is zero," said Rene Oehlerking, marketing director for Salt Lake City-based home builder, Garbett Homes. "This home will not get you 55 miles per gallon. This home will get you 400 miles per gallon."
In actuality, there will be a small utility bill — about $10 per month — but that’s a far cry from the roughly $300 to $350 per month combined power and gas bills other neighbors in that area pay, Oehlerking said.
To achieve that rating, the home has double-paned windows filled with argon gas, special frames and seals for the windows and doors, four types of insulation, and solar panels to produce electricity.
While the home is practically airtight due to the windows and seals, it uses an air-exchange unit that recycles fresh air into the structure and heats or cools the new air with the air that goes out, requiring no heaters or air conditioners. For hot water, the house uses solar-heated water tanks that can produce nearly unlimited quantities that require little to no energy to warm up. The home also is equipped with energy-efficient appliances.
A home automation system is installed by Provo-based Vivint in which the homeowner can monitor and control the home security, temperature, lights and energy management either at home or via a mobile device like a smartphone. With it, the homeowner can even track how much energy is being used in the house to see where family members are using too much electricity. The home also has a wireless Internet service and sports the latest ultra-high-definition television in the living room.
"What the Internet will be [in the future] you’re going to see right here," said Matt Eyring, chief strategy and innovation officer for Vivint.
The 4,300-square-foot home model that Vivint and Garbett Homes began showing Thursday is priced at $650,000 — but these kinds of environmentally green innovations can be used in homes for much less, the companies said.
And Oehlerking said subdivisions with more affordable homes in Layton, Kaysville, South and West Jordan and Draper will be built soon with these same features.
"We’re the only builder in the country that makes this [the home’s net-zero features] standard," he said. "What you see is what you will get."
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