Las Vegas - Pulte Homes' Villa Trieste, a home community in Summerlin, Nevada, is combining green building design with smart grid technology to reduce home energy demand in the Southwest. The energy efficient community is a result of a public-private collaboration aimed at reducing residential energy demand by 65% and has received U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum certification for four of its first homes.
The Center for Energy Research at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, in partnership with Pulte Homes and NV Energy, received a $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a model community that will significantly reduce peak residential energy demand. The demonstration on a community-wide level will represent the future of sustainable communities in the Southwest.
“Reducing the demand for electricity during peak summer hours has become a significant issue for both homeowners and utilities, particularly in the heat of the desert Southwest,“ said Bob Boehm, professor of engineering and director of UNLV's Center for Energy Research. “Villa Trieste will demonstrate on a large scale that significant reduction in peak energy demand can be achieved through conscientious building design and practical application of new technology.“
The Center for Energy Research coordinated the collaborative grant application, which was awarded by the DOE last year. In total, the DOE awarded $50 million to seven research projects across the nation, all aimed at reducing peak load demand through renewable energy and demand management.
Building quality homes that achieve significant energy and financial savings for consumers motivated Pulte Homes to seek energy efficient opportunities in its communities in the Southwest, said Scott Wright, president of Pulte's Las Vegas Division.
According to Wright, Villa Trieste is the next step in Pulte's pursuit to build better, more energy efficient homes.
“As energy prices increase in the future, homeowners will have security in knowing that they will be less affected than most others,” said Wright, adding that the homes come with a three-year heating, cooling and temperature comfort guarantee. “Villa Trieste is kind of like our version of the Toyota Prius, we like to refer to Villa Trieste as being a community of hybrid homes.”
Green products installed in the community homes include YORK 92% efficient furnaces, fresh air ventilation systems and 15 SEER air conditioning units; Rinnai tankless water heaters; Sterling high efficiency toilets; Moen high efficiency faucets; Sierra Air Design jump ducts; and Studor vents. SunPower SunTile roof-integrated solar-electric power systems are also featured in the home community, providing up to 50% more power per unit area than conventional cell technology. Plus, Eco-Concierge's computer systems and dashboards are in every house, helping homeowners manage their energy use, specifically HVAC energy usage.
“In the midst of this challenging homebuilding environment, Villa Trieste is a shining example of how partnerships between public and private entities can accelerate the green building movement,” said Greg Kern, director of conservation programs at NV Energy. “The end result is homes of the highest-quality for residents who seek a home that provides greater comfort, lower operating costs and a healthier environment for their families.”
In addition to the $7 million provided from the DOE, the grant collaboration involves cost sharing from various partners. NV Energy is providing rebates through its Cool Share, Energy Plus and Zero Energy Home programs.
“Increasing energy efficiency in the construction of new homes will not only help mitigate the effects of climate change, but it will also improve our energy security,” said David Rodgers, with the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Pulte, UNLV and NV Energy are committed to transforming the new home construction industry to build healthier, more secure, prosperous and sustainable communities that are contributing to the fabric of a cleaner, more energy efficient America.”
According to Wright, the advanced construction methods used in Villa Trieste should reduce homeowners' electrical and gas bills by more than 60%, versus only 15% reduction for typical Energy Star homes.
Pulte Homes plans to seek USGBC LEED certification for all 185 community homes. Villa Trieste homes range from 1,487- to 1,960-sq.ft. Home prices start at $200,000.
Additional information is available at: www.pulte.com.