By Danielle Daniel
October 8, 2014
Southeast Volusia Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity of South Sarasota County—affordable housing partners of the University of Central Florida’s FSEC—were the honored recipients of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home Leading Affordable Builders awards in September. A total of 28 industry leaders (including six affordable builders) were recognized at the 2014 Housing Innovation Award ceremony at EEBA’s Excellence in Building Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. DOE Housing Innovation Awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of contractors and builders to design and construct high performance, zero energy ready homes.
Energy efficiency, comfort, and durability are key components of DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes. To qualify for this certification, homes must meet stringent requirements in seven categories. To reduce energy consumption and resulting energy costs, these high performance homes must achieve a very low score on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. The closer the score is to zero, the less energy is needed to run the home.
Southeast Volusia Habitat for Humanity met the requirements of its first DOE Zero Energy Ready Home in 2013, achieving a HERS Index score of 49. The Habitat affiliate, with assistance from FSEC researchers, developed an innovative raised ceiling interior duct system known as a fur-up chase. This approach uses custom-designed, notched roof trusses that fit the duct chase into the ceiling. The finished chase exists within the home’s thermal barriers, increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy costs.
“Volusia Habitat is in the vanguard of building affordable, sustainable, and efficient housing for their clients. It has been a joy to help Volusia Habitat and watch them meet the challenges of the DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes program,” says FSEC research analyst David Beal.
Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County constructed six DOE Zero Energy Homes in its Laurel Gardens project, each achieving a HERS Index score in the low 50s. Drought-tolerant, native plants and turf were also added to the homes’ landscaping design for increased energy efficiency. This affiliate’s impressive efforts include participation in a number of energy programs including Florida Water StarSM, ENERGY STAR® Certified Homes Version 3.1, and Florida Green Building Coalition’s Green Building Standard (platinum level).
“South Sarasota Habitat for Humanity continues to set a high bar for Florida builders, and we are so delighted that the Department of Energy has recognized these efforts. Hopefully, it will encourage others to follow suit,” states FSEC senior research analyst Janet McIlvaine.
See a complete list of the 2014 Housing Innovation Award Winners.
Learn about FSEC’s research partnership opportunities for home builders: http://www.ba-pirc.org/partners/index.htm