Stoughton homeowners begin net zero energy pursuit

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

From a news release issued by WPPI Energy:

STOUGHTON, WIS., August 12 - Homeowners John and Rebecca Scheller are constructing one of the region's first net zero energy homes (NZEH) in the WPPI Energy member service territory of Stoughton Utilities. Together with Stoughton Utilities and WPPI Energy, John and Rebecca Scheller celebrated the kickoff of their environmentally responsible building project Wednesday, August 12.

A NZEH is one that produces at least as much energy as it consumes. Through WPPI Energy's GreenMax Home initiative, the Schellers' NZEH will combine renewable energy technologies with advanced energy-efficient construction, generating more power than it uses for a net zero impact on the nation's energy supply. The Schellers' home will raise awareness of the NZEH concept while demonstrating practical ways to save energy and use renewable resources at home.

"We are excited to support the Schellers as they begin the pursuit of net zero energy use and demonstrate their commitment to environmental
stewardship," said Senior Vice President of Customer Services and Administration Tom Paque. "With their GreenMax Home, the Schellers will showcase how normal construction practices, lifestyle and behavior changes, and an eye for details can enhance the efficiency of any

Paque presented the Schellers with initial GreenMax Home funding in the amount of $18,000. WPPI Energy will provide a total of $42,000 in GreenMax Home funding for the Schellers' project. An additional $18,000 payment will be awarded once construction of the home is complete, and a final $6,000 will be awarded after the Schellers have demonstrated net zero energy use for one year.

Although unique in its goal of net zero energy use, the home's construction methods are similar to most average homes today. Attention to basic details, such as insulation and air sealing, will help make the home far more efficient. The Schellers will work with Shaw Building & Design, Inc. and WPPI Energy to construct their NZEH, advancing the home's status from highly efficient to net zero.

Key design features of the home include:

- All electric home
- Two ground source heat pumps that will extract heat from the ground and provide heating, cooling and hot water
- Two pole-mounted 2.88 kilowatt arrays of solar photovoltaic panels
- Simple New England Saltbox design making the house easy to insulate and seal
- Structural plumbing with advanced designs and controls to reduce hot water waste and energy use
- Building shell improvements, including ENERGY STAR windows, special attention to air sealing, and increased insulation levels.