Home using ‘Net Zero’ energy opens in Serenbe

The Bosch Net Zero Model Home. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Could there be a house that comes with no energy costs over the course of a year? The answer is “yes.” The only one of its kind in the United States, the Bosch Net Zero Model Home is now open just miles from Coweta and Fayette counties in the Serenbe community in Chattahoochee Hills.

The 1,650 square-foot house features a complete solution suite of Bosch technologies, TOTO WaterSense plumbing and fixtures and Castle Combe hardwood floors. Based on normal energy use, Net Zero technology enables a family of four to live in the home over the course of a year without incurring any energy costs, according to Bosch and its partner in the project, Canadian-based EcoPlusHome. The home's energy use is measured by a net meter system on the power grid, which credits the energy created by the house and debits the energy used by the consumer, resulting in (or close to) net zero consumption, according to Bosch.

Project representative Tom Black said the home is equipped with a variety of innovative products designed to provide the net-zero energy cost to the consumer.

Black said Bosch's Net Zero solution suite is a complete system approach that simplifies sustainable living decisions and makes Net Zero homes more affordable for consumers.

The Bosch technology creates a quiet environment without the hum of working appliances, Black said.

So what is inside and outside the home? A Bosch geothermal heat pump taps into naturally occurring energy stored in the earth as ground and water temperatures below the earth's surface are relatively constant. The heat pump has lower operating costs than a traditional system and the quiet operation lowers noise pollution.

Positioned on the roof are Bosch photovoltaic solar panels to power the home by using high efficient solar cells to transform ultraviolet sun rays into electrical energy. And a Bosch Compress electric heat pump water heater uses the heat and humidity from the surrounding air to heat the water.  As an extra benefit, the pump also cools and dehumidifies the air in the home.

And the house is outfitted with Bosch products such as a built-in dishwasher, oven, cook top, compact washer and dryer, refrigerator and ventilation hood.

The Net Zero Home also includes the TOTO Dual-Max flushing system that allows the user to select the appropriate amount of water usage and WaterSense certified low-flow faucets conserve water. And underfoot are Castle Combe hardwood floors from U.S. Floors made from managed forest resources and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The hardwood floors throughout the model home have the look and feel of reclaimed wood but provide the modern performance of an engineered hardwood floor.

Designed to fit seamlessly into the Serenbe community, the Net Zero house showcases some of the elements found in the woods in the 1,000-acre community where, even at build-out, 70 percent of the community will be maintained as greenspace.

“Building a new home can be a great experience. But balancing performance, efficiency, and aesthetics can also create a lot of stress with the many choices that have to be made. Our goal is to offer a portfolio of products designed to address these priorities, thus facilitating a simple ‘peace of mind’ solution for sustainable living decisions,” said Ervin Cash, president and CEO, Bosch Thermotechnology North America. “This powerful portfolio is designed for reliability, meaning precision engineering and design ensuring years of clean, efficient operation for everyday home comfort needs.”

Upstairs and down, the house is open and airy and a pleasure to visit. Those visits, in form of complimentary tours, can be made Fridays through Sundays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. through July. And once the model home period ends the home will be available for purchase.

Visitors to Serenbe will be able to take a close look at Bosch products even after the model home closes. That is because located next door beside Fern’s Market will be the Bosch Experience Center opening in July. The only one of its kind in the world, the Bosch Experience Center will be powered and fully equipped with products comprising the Bosch home solution suite.

Intended to serve as both an education and interaction hub, the center will offer consumers, trade professionals and influencers in the sustainability space the opportunity to learn about Bosch solutions while serving as a world-class gathering spot for discussions on sustainability research and education. The end goal, according to Bosch officials, is to show how the combination of energy efficient Bosch products are helping produce a new generation of affordable, sustainable homes that greatly reduce demand and monthly costs, and have the potential of giving energy back to the grid in certain configurations.

Serenbe founder Steve Nygren added that the Experience Center will be a destination visit for a large cross-section of audiences because it provides a clear demonstration of how sustainable technology is applicable for everyday use and readily available much like conventional technology counterparts currently on the market.

“Bosch has simplified the decision for homeowners contemplating a switch to more sustainable product solutions,” Nygren said.

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