Community in Texas Provides Zero Energy Living
A community in Austin, Texas, called Whisper Valley, is exceeding building codes by producing an entire subdivision to promote green living. Builders harness two types of renewable energy in the homes, geothermal and solar, to provide a zero energy building. They are also equipped with the latest technology to conserve energy. This community may be a dream come true if you would like to reduce your carbon footprint.
Each home uses geothermal energy to heat and cool the building, as well as heat the water. Geothermal uses the heat beneath the Earth’s surface in the form of steam to power the turbines that generate electricity. Just by using geothermal energy, these homes have cut traditional energy consumption by 65 percent. Using geothermal energy also means that you do not have to install a unit on the side of the house, exposed to the elements and producing unnecessary noise. This is part of the reason the community is called Whisper Valley.
Geothermal energy, though renewable, should not be used to completely satisfy our energy demands. Whisper Valley also installs photovoltaic solar panels on every home. The sun is the greatest source of energy we have; it will be around for billions of years to come. It is also more sustainable than geothermal energy because we will never use so much that it runs out. Solar panels are also silent.
Using both solar and geothermal energy easily supply the energy needs of the community. This makes a net-zero home (meaning that the home is not consuming more energy than it is producing) a high probability.
Energy Efficient Appliances
Whisper Valley homes come with Energy Star rated appliances, including the refrigerator and dishwasher. These appliances received praise for their silence and water conservation. In order to maintain zero energy though, other efficient appliances (like the washer and dryer) are up to the homeowner to provide.
These homes also come with Nest technology. This company’s thermostat adapts to your schedule, adjusting to keep the inhabitants comfortable and conserve energy. The technology will also alert you if it detects smoke or carbon monoxide.
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There are many amenities that come with buying a home in Whisper Valley that also help its inhabitants live a zero energy life. They have space available for a community garden for the homeowners to collaborate and grow produce together. This splits the expenses for maintaining the garden and it splits the labor to cultivate the plants. Everyone puts in a little bit of effort so they all can benefit.
There is also a large park with trees and trails so homeowners can spend time outdoors and enjoy its beauties.
What Do Zero Energy Bills Look Like?
An Austin-local news station reported that energy bills for this zero energy community were as low as two dollars a month. That is a drastic cut compared to traditional bills. The savings astound homeowners, but they are also grateful to be reducing their carbon footprint.
The homes are not insanely expensive either. Whisper Valley homes are selling between $200,000 and $400,000, and each home qualifies for a federal tax credit for $7,000 to $10,000. These homes cost about the same as a traditional house in the United States. With each of the additions that make a zero energy life possible, these homes outshine all others. Hopefully, other neighborhoods will adopt some of these practices so others can come closer to experiencing zero energy.
Image Source: Pixabay