Mother Earth Living

Anatomy of a Zero-Energy Home

Zero-Energy homes cut energy bills by at least 50 percent and include solar panels. Find out more about these eco-friendly domiciles.
By Lydia Lee
May/June 2004
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This Zero Energy home in Tucson’s Armory Park del Sol development incorporates state-of-the-art energy-saving measures.
Photo Courtesy John Wesley Miller Company


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“Getting a utility bill that reads ‘zero’ is not just a dream. Any builder can do it— the elements to produce a net-zero energy home are already here; you just have to pay attention.” —John Wesley Miller, Tucson, Arizona, developer

Thanks to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Zero-Energy program, subdivision developers are building homes with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction and appliances. A Zero-Energy home is hooked to the grid, but it cuts energy bills by at least 50 percent and generates electricity with solar panels. Ultimately, its goal is to reach net-zero annual energy use.

Participating developers

• Dallas-based Centex Homes has built prototypes in California and is considering offering Zero-Energy features in future developments.  

Clarum Homes has built two subdivisions and is planning a third in California. Zero-Energy elements are standard. 

• John Wesley Miller Companies’ Armory Park del Sol development in Tucson, Arizona, includes a Zero-Energy house, the first designed to be truly net-zero, according to the developer.








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