Today, Tucson-area builder John Wesley Miller, in partnership with the NAHB Research Center and Tucson Electric Power, are celebrating Earth Day with the grand opening of a Zero Energy Home (ZEH). The home is part of a national demonstration program funded by the US Department of Energy through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The program’s goal is to introduce the ZEH concept into the single-family, new home construction industry. Among the corporate sponsors of this project is Osram Sylvania, which was recently named an Energy Star Partner of the Year for its work in the development of energy-efficient lighting products.

"Our company is deeply committed to the concepts of energy efficiency and energy savings through the manufacture and installation of innovative Sylvania lighting products, so we were very pleased to participate in the construction of the ZEH in Tucson," said Charlie Jerabek, president and CEO of Osram Sylvania. "This is especially poignant on Earth Day, a day when we focus on sustaining our renewable resources."

Zero Energy Homes combine state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction and appliances with commercially-available renewable energy systems. The homes, like most other homes, are connected to the utility grid, but overall, with their reduced energy needs and electricity generated by the sun, they produce as much energy as they consume.

Some of the ZEH’s features include active solar space and water heating, Energy Star-rated appliances, compact fluorescent lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, radiant barrier roof decking, and windows that minimize solar heat gain.

Other project sponsors are: BP Solar of Linthicum, MD; Carrier Corporation of Indianapolis, IN; Dankoff Solar of Santa Fe, NM; Kohler Co. of Kohler, WI; Microtherm, Inc./SEISCO of Houston, TX; Milgard Windows of Tempe, AZ; Nora Lighting of Commerce, CA; Panasonic of San Rafael, CA; Panasonic Ventilation of Scottsdale, AZ; Sioux Chief Manufacturing Company Inc. of Peculiar, MO; SMA America Inc. of Grass Valley, CA; SunEarth Inc. of Ontario, CA; Sun Lighting of Tucson, AZ; Studor Inc. of Dunedin, FL; LP Corporation/TechShield of Roaring River, NC; The Solar Store of Tucson, AZ; and Whirlpool Corporation of Benton Harbor, MI.

NAHB Research Center staff will monitor energy use and other information to prepare an evaluation of the home. Once documented, these results will be made available to the public and the media on the Research Center’s websites, www.toolbase.org and www.nahbrc.org. For more information on the ZEH, contact Jeannie Sikora at 301-430-6289 or jsikora@nahbrc.org.