Dow and Cobblestone’s Take on Affordable NZE Homes
A heavily touted stop on the Parade of Homes in Midland, Michigan – which continues on May 14 and 15 – is a co-marketing project of Dow Building Solutions and local builder Cobblestone Homes. Called InVision Zero, it is a follow-up to Vision Zero, a net-zero-energy home showcased by Dow and Cobblestone last year to show off Dow’s renewable-energy and insulation products and Cobblestone’s expertise in construction .
What makes InVision Zero a point of interest in the parade is not just its performance, but its construction costs, which came at slightly under $250,000 – close to the U.S. average for new homes, Dow and Cobblestone note. The ranch-style demonstration house includes 1,556 sq. ft. of conditioned space, with three bedrooms and two baths. Like InVision – a larger house equipped with a well-insulated airtight shell and renewable-energy systems such as photovoltaics, solar hot water, and a ground-source heat pump – InVision Zero is designed to perform comparably to its predecessor, which earned a HERS Index rating of minus 4, as well as a Builders Challenge certification from the Department of Energy.
Price and performance
InVision Zero components include Dow’s Styrofoam structural insulated sheathing, a variety of the company’s foam sealants, DowFrost GEO 20 heat transfer fluids in the building’s ground-source heating system, and Dow Powerhouse solar shingles on the roof. Like the InVision home, InVision Zero will serve as a demonstration home for several months before being offered for sale.
No word yet on its HERS rating, although Dow and Cobblestone calculate that, under average usage conditions, the home is expected to save $2,441 in annual energy costs. And depending on land costs, it could be competitive with any of the energy efficient homes being introduced by production builders such as KB Home and Meritage Homes.