A high-performance home is more than just some solar panels on the roof. The design features of the home itself work first to make the home as energy efficient as possible.
Each Renew collection floor plan includes some or all of these passive solar design features:
You have the opportunity to deepen the passive solar effect when you finish out your Renew Collection home by adding thermal mass, such as polished concrete slab flooring or tile.
The overhang shades the south-facing windows of the Shenandoah in summer, reducing cooling needs.
The overhang allows sunlight to illuminate south-facing windows of the Shenandoah in winter, partially heating the space behind it and reducing the need for mechanical heating.
Passive solar design is a broad and important topic in green building. You can learn more about passive solar design at the following links:
Several years ago we installed one of North Carolina's largest solar arrays, producing electricity through 273 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of our manufacturing facility. These solar panels generate one third of the energy we use to manufacture your sustainable home, and the remaining two thirds is energy we purchase from other renewable energy producers. We are committed to producing our homes with 100% renewable energy.
Our plant has implemented a comprehensive re-use and recycling program that enables us to divert over 80% of all of our leftover building materials away from the landfill. For example, we use recycled insulation in our insulated headers, use a computerized saw to optimize our lumber use, regularly collect and recycle hard-to-recycle products, and send usable building material scraps to organizations that use them for releif housing projects. We invite you to come on a plant tour and see our waste reduction practices in action.
Our goal is to be a zero landfill plant by 2016.
We benchmark our sustainability progress each year in an annual sustainability report.
We build the structural components of your home in our factory. This is panelized construction, a process that can dramatically reduce waste, increase quality, and reduce the potential for damage from the elements during assembly.
A panelized home is a better way to build:
We focus on the longevity of your home in all of our products and options. For example:
A high performance home uses a high efficiency heating and cooling system that has been properly designed for the home, and that is installed to perform at its best. Homes layouts aim to keep mechanical equipment and duct work inside the conditioned volume of the home.
A popular choice in a net-zero home is a ductless, "mini-split" system. This type of system eliminates the many inefficiencies associated with duct work, and can also operate at higher efficiency than a conventional heat pump due to technology that can more precisely adapt to the real-time cooling or heating needs of your house. Other types of high efficiency heating and cooling systems that can work well with a net-zero home include a ground source ("geothermal") heat pump or solar assisted hydronic radiant floor heating.
Your home package comes with energy modeling that includes HVAC design calculations, so you will know what size system you need. Our green department can guide you on the best types of systems to use in your climate.
Fresh Air Ventilation allows the home to receive fresh air without the energy penalties associated with a leaky house, and becomes important for the health of the occupants when building a very air-tight home. We offer one of the most energy efficient fresh air ventilation products on the market, and can specify a product that matches the fresh air needs of our project.
Since so many of a net-zero home's design features dramatically reduce heating and cooling needs, lighting and appliances become the largest component of your energy bill. Smartly managing that cost starts with using all Energy Star certified appliances and lighting, but also includes thoughtful electrical design.
Just as important as how well insulated your home is is how air-tight it is. Our panelized construction process has exceptional tolerances of all of our components, resulting in a more tight-fitting building shell. Meanwhile the AirBlock air-sealing treatment applied to our wall panels is designed to facilitate a complete air barrier at the exterior walls.
There are two distinct types of solar energy systems commonly used in residential construction: solar for hot water production and solar for electricity production. These two types of solar panels work completely differently, and they look different, too. Most zero energy home designs use both types of systems.
Solar Hot Water
A Deltec solar hot water kit can provides the majority of your yearly hot water needs, with the rest being supplied by an electric backup.
Read more about solar hot water systems.
Deltec can include a solar electric kit with your home package, available in several different sizes and configurations. You can also work with a local solar contractor to source and install the solar electric array that will power your Renew collection home.. Our kits are are connected to the electrical grid, providing power to the grid when the sun is shining, and allowing you to draw electricity as you need when it isn't. Throughout the year, the amount of power you produce should balance out with the amount of power you buy from the grid, resulting in a net energy bill of zero dollars. This is in contrast to an "off-grid" setup, which stores the energy produced by solar panels in batteries for later use.
If rooftop space does not allow for solar panels, solar arrays can also be mounted on the ground.
Learn more about how grid-tied solar electric systems work, and how they are integrated into a house.