Now that the winner of the 2012 HGTV Green Home Giveaway has been announced (step on down Mary Jones of Katy, Texas, it looks like you’re moving to semi-rural Georgia!!!), yet another sustainable showhome has been erected within the grand dame of the Southeast’s New Urbanist eco-villages. While the HGTV Green Home at Serenbe is a gussied up, LEED-targeting affair clocking in at 2,300-square-feet, this new model home is a touch smaller at 1,700-square-feet and was built and designed with the buzziest of all green building buzzwords in mind: net-zero energy.
The whole shebang is courtesy of German auto parts and home appliances giant, Bosch, in cooperation with Eco Plus Group USA, the American offshoot of Canada's EcoPlusHome. The $499,000 home — it’s just up the street from the HGTV Green Home, by the way — not only gives Bosch the opportunity to showcase the company's latest and greatest energy-efficient appliances (fridge, washer and dryer, stovetop, oven, dishwasher, etc.), but to provide the key systems that help the home achieve net-zero energy performance goals: an 18-panel rooftop solar array, an electric heat pump water heater, and the pièce de résistance, a geothermal heat pump.
Tom Black, president of Eco Plus Group USA, tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “It is hard to find a company that could make everything and would stay in business.” He adds: "There are a lot of good technologies, but some are hard to live with. This is what we have put together and we are still perfecting it."
In addition to the various Bosch products, the country farmhouse-inspired home features WaterSense-qualified Toto plumbing and fixtures and FSC-certified engineered hardwood flooring from USFloors. The home itself was built by McKinney Custom Home Builders and interiors were overseen by Jill Sharp Brinson of Ballard Designs (the SereneGreenGa blog has some nice interior shots of the home).
Although the AJC points out that this is the first Bosch Net Zero Home to be built in the U.S. — a similar pilot home was completed by EcoPlusHome in New Brunswick, Canada, in 2008 and inhabited by a guinea pig family from 2009 to 2010 — the article later goes on to state that EcoPlusHome has already built over 20 Bosch Net Zero Homes in North America, including six in Georgia. Huh? Did I miss something? So this isn't the first Bosch Net Zero home in the U.S.?
The Bosch Zero Energy Home at Serenbe will be open for public tours through July (Fridays through Sundays from 11 am to 7 pm). After that, the home's new owners will move in and the public tours will cease ... but Bosch doesn't plan on going anywhere. Serenbe will be the site of the first-of-its-kind Bosch Experience Center, a space “designed to showcase the full-line of Bosch energy efficient, sustainable home solutions.”
The center is expected to open in the coming months and will certainly be an interesting addition to the existing roster of Serenbe businesses and services which are heavily artsy/artisanal/agrarian in nature (think acupuncture studios, handicraft boutiques, and general stores featuring edibles from local farmers). Come for the 25-acre organic farm, stay for the EnergyStar dishwashers, I guess.
Any Serenbe residents or visitors had a chance to tour the Bosch Zero Energy Home at Serenbe yet? Any thoughts? Have you toured both the HGTV Green Home and the Bosch Net Zero Home? Did you prefer one over the other?