1,500-sf home among World’s most energy efficient
PHOENIX — June 14, 2017
Phoenix-based VALI Homes today announced receipt of net zero energy certification from the Living Future Institute for its first-built home in the City’s Loma Linda neighborhood. The net zero certification is part of the Institute’s Living Building Challenge (“LBC”), a green building certification program and sustainable design framework, and is designed to create broader market adoption, codification, and standardization of zero-energy technologies. The 1500 sf, 2-bedroom home generated 107% of its 2016 annual energy needs with a remarkably small photovoltaic system — all while maintaining optimal year-round comfort. It is the only residential structure in the Southwest to receive this designation, and is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world.
“There are more than 1.8 million houses in metro Phoenix, and they all have inordinately large energy consumption profiles as they struggle in our climate,” explained Austin Trautman, VALI Homes founder and CEO. “In the past, reducing a house’s consumption involved expensive technologies, dangerous air sealing, and sacrifices in inhabitants’ comfort and health. Using the LBC framework, we set out to build a clean and efficient desert home that is as comfortable as it is beautiful.”
Traditionally, new home builders improve the efficiency of dated structural designs by wrapping their buildings in membranes and filling walls with foam. While these efforts reduce consumption, they also trap moisture in the walls that destroys the structures themselves, deteriorates interior air quality, and eventually harms inhabitants’ health. With only marginal increases in efficiency, attempts to offset these homes’ consumption still requires relatively large rooftop solar systems with increasingly lengthy payback periods. Trautman found a solution in native Sonoran plants. VALI mixes shading modeled after the mighty Saguaro cactus with Passive House principles and modernist design to build the only homes that function with, not against, the Sonoran climate. Through next-gen protective shells, airtight envelopes, super-insulated walls, and 24/7 fresh-air purification, VALI homes consume 80% less energy than similarly sized houses, while delivering the healthiest and most comfortable living spaces possible. VALI Homes consume so little energy, the homes can achieve net-zero — and even-off-grid — status with minimal solar and battery technology.
To determine Net Zero certification, the Living Future Institute evaluates a full year’s worth of energy usage and generation data. Over a 12-month period ending March, 2016, the VALI home consumed only 5,334 kWh of electricity — with A/C set to 70 degrees all summer — yet generated 5,720 kWh (107% of total consumption) through a relatively tiny 3.6 kW Sun Valley Solar Solutions rooftop solar system. This 5,720 kWh of clean energy produced by the home prevented over 3 metric tons of Co2 from being released into the atmosphere by power plants — the equivalent annual output of a typical passenger car. Furthermore, to achieve this level of net zero performance, a typical 1,500 SF Arizona home would require a far larger, more expensive, rooftop solar system.
Anyone interested in experiencing the home’s comfort and next-level efficiency first hand may rent the home via Airbnb at www.ecoinnphx.com. VALI is also finalizing plans for the West Coast’s most energy-efficient new home community, Ocotillo Mews, in the Uptown area of North Phoenix.
For more information on the Living Building Challenge Certification: https://living-future.org/lbc/case-studies/vali-homes-prototype/
About VALI Homes: VALI Homes is a Phoenix-based rethinker of residential real estate. Using a patent-pending intelligent building envelope, European-derived Passive House concepts, and a fresh approach to community, VALI builds homes and neighborhoods that are healthy for both people and the environment. Each VALI home embraces the climate with thoughtful indoor/outdoor connections, while next-gen protective shells and purification systems deliver year-round comfortable, healthy interiors. The homes consume 1/5 of the resources of similarly sized houses while maximizing interior comfort. www.valihomes.com
About the Living Future Institute: The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) is a nonprofit working to build an ecologically minded, restorative world for all people. Using principles of social and environmental justice, ILFI seeks to counter climate change by pushing for an urban environment free of fossil fuels. ILFI runs the Living Building Challenge, which is the world’s most rigorous green building standard, not to mention several other programs: the Living Product Challenge, the Living Community Challenge, and the Reveal, Declare and Just labels. These programs develop a green framework for living in a 21st-century world. https://living-future.org
About the Living Building Challenge: The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most rigorous standard for green buildings. Going above and beyond LEED certification, Living Buildings strive for net-zero or net-positive energy, are free of toxic chemicals, and lower their energy footprint many times below the generic commercial structure. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy. There are three (3) types of certification under the Challenge: Living Building Certification, Petal Certification or Net Zero Energy Building Certification. https://living-future.org/lbc/
About Sun Valley Solar Solutions: Since 2006, Sun Valley Solar Solutions has been providing clean solar energy for residents and businesses throughout Arizona. The Chandler, Arizona-based company is accredited as a SunPower Elite Dealer by SunPower Corp., the world’s leading manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells and solar modules. Sun Valley Solar Solutions is also accredited and rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, has won the Angie’s List Super Service Award four times, is a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association, AMICUS, the Electric League of Arizona, the Arizona Solar Industries Association, the U.S. Green Building Council, and is an active member of LOCAL FIRST. www.sunvalleysolar.com