A Closer Look at Products Innovation in the Ultimate Z.E.N. Home
BY RICH BINSACCA, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OCTOBER 5, 2020
This article first appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of Pro Builder.
No healthy, net zero energy home achieves the requisite standards of indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy use reduction without innovative products and systems, and the Ultimate Zero Energy Now (Z.E.N.) Home by Thrive Home Builders, in Denver, is no exception.
But, as the folks at Thrive will tell you, achieving the highest levels of building performance isn’t enough to compete in a production-home sales environment; you also need products that will attract attention from the curb as well.
The products featured in the Ultimate Z.E.N. Home are a mix of those, in some cases serving both performance and market appeal. There’s also a local utility in the mix, a willing and able partner in helping lower and offset high-rate use times for electricity with financial incentives and tools for home builders and buyers.
- Housing's Now: The Ultimate Z.E.N. Home
- The Ultimate Z.E.N. Home's Wall Assembly
- The Ultimate Z.E.N. Home's Solution for Solar
- The Ultimate Z.E.N. Home's Indoor Air Quality System
Indoor Air Quality Monitoring | Panasonic
Cosmos from Panasonic uses sensors to continuously monitor indoor air quality 24/7 and remove harmful indoor toxins and volatile organic compounds. When the sensors detect unhealthy indoor air conditions, Cosmos automatically activates connected IAQ products to exhaust contaminated air and bring in fresh, filtered outside air to restore normal levels—all from a sleek, unobtrusive hub.
Single-Zone Heating and Cooling System | Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US
The home’s all-electric, single-zone, heating and cooling system from Mistubishi offers a full-range variable refrigerant flow that precisely matches its output to changing indoor comfort demands to effectively provide indoor comfort. Rated at SEER-17.5, the Energy Star-certified ducted mini-split system delivers 33,000 Btu/hour of cooling power and 40,000 Btu/hour of heating capacity.
Trim and Siding | LP SmartSide
LP SmartSide Trim & Siding high-performance products protect against impact, moisture, termites, fungal decay, freeze/thaw cycles, high humidity, and more. The lightweight products have been proven in third-party testing to save time and resources on the jobsite and install 22% faster than fiber-cement lap siding. Products are certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to minimize environmental impact, and the no-formaldehyde manufacturing process uses 99% of each log. Backed by a 5/50-year limited warranty.
Housewrap and Flashing | DuPont
Durable and non-woven, DuPont Tyvek DrainWrap allows moisture vapor to escape the home, while vertical grooves channel water away from the wall system. Self-adhered and easy-to-use, DuPont FlexWrap is a one-step solution for flashing the corners of windowsills, door sills, and larger penetrations to help seal out water and air.
Air Purifier | Aprilaire
Aprilaire’s 5000 series electronic air purifier provides an electronic MERV-13 filter designed to remove 98% of airborne allergens as small as 0.1 microns. The unit integrates with the central air system so air introduced to the return plenum is further purified by an air cleaner, then delivered to the home’s supply ducts by an air handling unit programmed to run continuously at low speed.
Kitchen Appliances | Samsung
Within a complete suite of sleek, stylish, and energy-efficient kitchen appliances, the kitchen’s 36-inch induction cooktop from Samsung is about as appealing as anything in the house. Not only does the company’s Flex Zone induction technology automatically adapt to large, small, or uniquely shaped pot and pan sizes, it features digital touch controls, Wi-Fi connectivity to monitor activity, a “power boost” for each burner that boils water faster, and LED surface lights simulate a gas flame ... with the precision of induction.
Electrical Utility | Xcel Energy
Serving eight states, electrical utility Xcel Energy is working with EEBA to develop an online course to teach builders how to sell the benefits of high-performance homes and show a return on investment for them and their buyers. The company also is committed to sustainability on a utility scale with a 10-year goal of 80% carbon-free power generation that relies more heavily on renewables, such as wind and solar. It also pays builders a cash incentive for homes that exceed the local energy code by at least 10%.
For more information about the Ultimate Z.E.N. Home, including photos and videos of its construction and more product details and materials, go to pbultimatezen.com.
Access a PDF of this article in Pro Builder's September/October 2020 digital edition
Photo credit Eric Lucero