Show House Attendance/Interest Records!
Interest in energy efficient, green building continues to remain high. As most of you are aware, we started the year off with The Colleyville Eco House and then jumped right into a second show house to finish the year off with The TimberCreek Zero Energy House. Although for our own personal sanity, we will probably never do two show houses in one year again, we were absolutely thrilled with the amount of interest they received. While the Colleyville Eco House surpassed the 2007 Bannister House attendance the TimberCreek Zero Energy House further surpassed the Collevyille House with over 4,600 current/future homeowners and building professionals visiting the house for public tours and special events. The TimberCreek house web site also set a new web traffic record for us receiving over 1,000,000 hits in seven months. We cannot express how grateful we are to have so much interest from a variety of people in what we are doing.
Thank you all for coming out this year!
Special System Applications
We have given multiple presentations to several groups this year about our high-performance green homes. Most people are interested in what new technologies or products we have used in our houses this year. The following are some of the things we have incorporated or used for the first time:
We installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, or "ground source heat pump" in the Colleyville Eco House. This was our first one and it was very educational. The 4800 sq ft house was sized for 6 tons of air, which meant we had to drill 6 wells (one well per ton) to a depth of 300 ft per well. The wells (at $2500 per well) made the system a bit pricey and we installed this before the current tax credits were available. With the newer 1/3 tax credit it's worth looking into. The system works great and is a very efficient way to heat and cool a home as well as assist in hot water supply.
Rainwater Catchment Place
Yes, we have installed a few rainwater systems before, but not underground and not using two different catchments (1 above and 1 below) as we did on the TimberCreek Zero House. We really did like the in ground catchment system. It cost more than doing above ground, but if you have limited space on your lot or simply don't want a big tank in your yard the block system we used really seems to be the way to go. Having the water stored underground can also keep the freshness of the water a little longer. We actually turned the top of the underground tank into a permeable surface patio which makes a very useful outdoor living space.
We've installed a 3kw photovoltaic system on the Colleyville Eco House and a 9.03 kw system on the TimberCreek Zero Energy House. The rebates that are provided by Oncor and Texas-New Mexico Power have really made the solar systems more affordable and that's not including the federal 1/3 tax credits with no limit. The 9.03 kw system for the TimberCreek House ended up costing the homeowners about 27k total after rebates and tax incentives. That system retailed at about $59,000 so there is a significant incentive to take advantage of those breaks. At that cost the payback to the homeowner on their PV system is roughly 5-7 years. Assisted with the PV's the whole house electric bill for Colleyville has been running around $120 per month and that's on a 4800 sq ft house. Of course, the fact that it is an extremely energy efficient home has been the majority of that reduction.
We are really looking forward to incorporating more renewable energy sources now that we have these rebates and tax credits to make them much more cost effective.
We will go through some more products and technologies in our first 2010 Newsletter. But as always visit the web sites and watch the videos for more information. We have a ton of videos on the TimberCreek Zero Energy House site and the Colleyville Eco House site.
On a personal note, we feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to not only build these extraordinary homes for our clients, but are in awe of the incredible generosity of our show home homeowners to open their new homes up for public tours. It can be painstaking to watch 4,000 people walking around touching your new stuff!
We at GreenCraft Builders would like to wish all of you and your families, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
GreenCraft Builders, LLC