July 28, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Zero Energy Homes: The Holy Grail of Green Building is Here

"On July 8, Natural Homes launched a series of reasonably priced Zero Energy Homes..."

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On July 8, Natural Homes launched a series of reasonably priced Zero Energy Homes at the same time that the State of New Mexico lowered its Energy Conservation Code. Many environmentalists feel the lowering of the standard was betrayal and a step in the wrong direction, but does it really matter?

At this time a number of companies around the country are delivering net Zero Energy Homes with a 90% to 100% savings in energy cost and delivering these homes at a competitive price, so does it really matter if the code is reduced from a 30% savings to 20%? It appears that the building industry has leapfrogged over the bureaucracy and is capable of delivering energy neutral homes that can save its residents thousands of dollars per year. So if any company can build reasonably priced Zero Energy Homes, why would anyone build a house that is not at or near Zero Energy?

In New Mexico there are at least two companies that are delivering competitively priced Zero Energy homes. The biggest is Artistic Homes from Albuquerque, a production builder that put great time and effort into perfecting reasonably priced LEED certified homes (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).  At one time they were the biggest builder of certified green homes in the nation and were able to deliver a Zero Energy Home in some markets for under $200,000. They were building in Oshara Village. I think they will be building in Santa Fe again soon.

The other company delivering Zero Energy Homes certified by BGNM (Build Green New Mexico)  is Renaissance Builders of Santa Fe, New Mexico who come from a custom builder background. BGNM is similar to LEED but is administered by the State of New Mexico. Renaissance offers a similar home to those Artistic builds with more custom features standard and can be built on almost any lot in the Santa Fe area. All their homes include custom finishes like masonry floors, stone countertops and vigas in the great room. Natural Homes of Prudential Santa Fe Real Estate is offering these homes now starting at $279,000, including the lot.

It is clear that our government is temporarily out of commission. It is time for the market to speak and say, if it is good for my pocket book, and it is good for our national security, it only makes sense to choose that for my home.

In the coming months, I will be blogging on the nexus of the healthy home, transportation imperatives, urban design, energy innovations and national energy security. You can learn more about Zero Energy Homes by going to NewVillage.com or calling me at 505.316.0449

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