The owners of the Proud Green Home at Serenbe, near Atlanta, GA, will never pay for electricity as long as they live there. Before the photovoltaic panels were considered for the home, it was rated, using the HERS Index, to use more than 60% less energy than if the home were designed and built to meet the minimum requirements of the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. With the solar panels, the home uses over 110% less energy than it's code-built equivalent, which means the panels will produce more net energy than the house, and it's occupants, will consume on an annual basis.

Serenbe Lane Custom Home Proud Green Home

The builder, Luis Imery, of The Imery Group, earned EarthwCraft Platinum, ENERGY STAR - v3.0, EPA Indoor airPLUS, EPA WaterSense, and DOE Challenge Home certifications, along with awards for project of the year, and a case study by the Department of Energy.

How did we do it?

Over the next couple of months, I will be presenting the design and construction best practices, the results of the testing we performed to verify all the above certifications, as well as the detailed results of the energy monitoring performed by Marshall Sweet, Project Engineer at Southface Energy Institute. Both Marshall and Luis Imery, will be joining me at the AIA Convention.

zero energy aia case study proud green home lg squared

You can catch these presentations, at the following conferences:

  1. Zero Energy Summit, Boston, Massachusetts - March 3-4, 2015 - hosted by Net Zero Energy Homes Coalition
  2. Greenprints Conference, Atlanta, GA - March 11-12, 2015 - hosted by Southface Energy Institute
  3. American Institute of Architects National Convention - May 14-16.

If you can't make it to any of these conferences, we will be making them available for viewing and download after we are finished presenting. Stay tuned here. In the meantime...


Whether you will be there or not, here are some of the core messages that will be discussed during each of these presentations.

  1. Best Practices of Design and Construction for High Performance Homes.
  2. Determining How Much Alternative Energy was Needed for Proud Green Home.
  3. Actual Construction Costs to Achieve Net Zero Energy, and the Paybacks (R.O.I.).
  4. What This Means for the Housing Industry.
control layers lg squared archi+techs

Our message will be simple - the performance of the home's building enclosure is the most important factor in achieving net zero. Although the systems technologies are a large factor in how much energy will be consumed by the home, and it's occupants, there is no question that the design and construction of the enclosure (walls, roof, floor, windows, etc.), how it's components are connected (continuously), and the integration with all systems (whatever they might be), has the most impact on home performance and cost. PERIOD.

7 + 5 = 0 (energy)

What you can look forward to, if you will be joining us for these presentations / conversations, or if you plan to download and read everything in our blog, is an equation of achieving high performance.

  1. Seven Elements of High Performance Design
  2. Knowledge
  3. Location
  4. Size
  5. Building Enclosure
  6. Modeling
  7. Integration
  8. Aesthetic, because "ugliness is not sustainable"
  9. Five Elements of High Performance Construction
  10. Knowledge
  11. Execution
  12. Testing
  13. Monitoring
  14. Education (Homeowner)
zero energy home testing lg sqaured archi+techs

Here are just some of the questions we will ask and answer during our presentations. Do you have the answers to any or all of these? If so, PLEASE ANSWER them as a comment below. We would love to hear what you think the right answer is, if that even exists.

Test Your Building IQ

  • Do Georgia homeowners spend more money heating or cooling their homes?
  • Can a house be too tight?
  • How much fresh air does a 2,500 s.f., 3 BR home need?
  • What are the three leading causes of building failure?
  • In an exterior wall, should you install a vapor barrier, or not? Why or why not?
  • Triple or Double Pane windows? Yes or no?
  • What is the greatest contributor to energy consumption in a home?
  • How do you measure a home's performance?
  • What is the most energy efficient heating and cooling system available?
  • Where is heat loss the greatest in a slab on grade?
  • What affect does a ventilated rain screen have on the thermal performance of an exterior wall?
  • are all mini-split heat pump systems ductless?
  • ERV or HRV for fresh air ventilation? Why?
  • How much solar energy does a 2,800 s.f. code-built home need to achieve net zero?
zero energy question energy consumption lg squared archi+techs

We would love to have you join us in the discussions at any of these conferences, but if you can't make it, please leave comments and questions below and we will be sure to share what we can during our presentations.

The most important thing in all of this is KNOWLEDGE. We're presenting this as a case study to share what we've learned through our experience. There is a lot of great information out there, and from a lot of really great resources, but doing is the best way to be sure about anything, especially if the doing ended in failure, but you rose up and tried it again.

Thanks for stopping by, and we hope to see you soon, at any, or all of these great conferences.

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