Spotlight on Community: North Pointe
These homes couldn’t be a brighter shade of green.
At North Pointe, 50-lot geosolar community in Frederick, Md., Nexus EnergyHomes is building a mix of single- and multi-family homes that typically net little or no electrical energy usage and produce no carbon emissions. Some homes even return excess power back to the grid. The community features 24 duplexes, 19 townhomes and seven single-family homes in a revived urban downtown setting.
Just a few years ago, this trendy downtown community was the site of a run-down public housing project. Nexus EnergyHomes bid to re-build the site under Hope VI, a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program that aims to eradicate distressed public housing.
HUD required Nexus’ homes to be affordable and energy efficient. But president Paul Zanecki went the extra mile. The builder spent three years schooling his management and architects in energy efficiency, in part through NAHB’s Home Innovation Research Labs, ultimately learning to build to the most rigorous requirements of the ICC 700 National Building Standards (NGBS).
All 19 North Pointe homes delivered thus far incorporate energy savings of a whopping 60 percent or more, and have achieved NAHB Emerald Certification, the highest rating for a residential green building. The community boasts the largest concentration of Emerald Certified homes anywhere in the United States.
The Game Changer
You might call him forward thinking. Nexus Founder and CEO, V. Paul Zanecki has long believed there is demand for homes capable of generating as much energy as they use; homes that can save homeowners thousands of dollars on utility bills every year without adding significantly to construction costs.
Zanecki acknowledges that his net-zero homes are about ten percent more expensive than conventional construction. Still, many—including all of the 2,000 square-foot duplexes at North Pointe–are priced under $325,000, a considerable feat in the greater Washington, D.C. market. More importantly, North Pointe buyers’ higher mortgage payments are usually more than offset by lower electricity bills. A typical homeowner may pay an additional $40 each month more in his mortgage payment but they will probably save around $175 a month in utility expenses.
Nexus North Pointe homes currently incorporate the cutting-edge combination of:
- Super insulated building enclosures
- Technology: Structural insulated panels (SIPs), spray foam, and sealant
- Benefit: Super insulated building shells eliminate heat transfer and are comfortable and quiet
- Ultra efficient heating and cooling
- Technology: Geothermal (ground sourced) heat pumps
- Benefit: Ultra-efficient heating and cooling saves energy and optimizes comfort
- Continuous ventilation
- Technology: Energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system
- Benefit: Continuous ventilation ensures even temperatures and fresh air while conserving energy
- Superior indoor air quality
- Technology: ERV system, HEPA filtration, Nexus CleanAir systems, and whole-house central vacuum
- Benefit: Extremely clean indoor air reduces the impact of allergens
- Reduced water heating
- Technology: A desuperheater preheats the hot water system using waste heat from the geothermal system
- Benefits: Reduces utility bills for water heating
- ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and electrical equipment
- Technology: ENERGY STAR qualified not only ensures lower utility bills but enhanced quality, and durability, and performance
- Benefits: Reduces utility bills
- Photovoltaic solar panel power generation
- Technology: PV panels that generate electricity using renewable solar energy
- Benefits: Almost eliminates the remainder of utility bills
- Option to upgrade to the DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles System
- Reduced water usage
- Technology: EPA WaterSense labeled faucets, lavatory, etc. that use less water
- Benefits: Reduces water waste and water bills
- State-of-the-Art controls and monitoring systems
- Technology: Complete home communication system including NexusVision™, an integrated monitoring system to better understand and then better manage your homes’ energy usage
- Benefits: Allows owners to control energy use remotely