Extreme Heat Meets Zero Energy with Demonstration Home Project in Borrego Springs on April 25, 2006

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Clarum Homes, California’s largest Zero Energy Home developer, hosts preview of its Borrego Springs Zero Energy Demonstration Project on APril 25, 2006. Real world test bed features four homes with latest in zero energy technologies; including, state-of-the-art wall, cooling and solar electric systems.

Clarum Homes, California’s largest Zero Energy Home developer, announced today that they will be hosting a special preview event of its Borrego Springs Zero Energy Demonstration Project on April 25, 2006 which will include a tour of the four (4) demonstration homes specially constructed for the project’s extreme desert climate. The project was developed through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program, ConSol, and Davis Energy Group. The four demonstration homes, which are available for sale, were designed with a goal of 90% energy reduction and built with the latest zero energy technologies; including, state-of-the-art wall, cooling and solar electric systems. The homes will be tested for energy efficiency continuously over the next twelve months and the information will be shared with other builders, manufacturers and municipalities throughout the country.

“Homeowners now more than ever are concerned about the rising cost of energy and the effects of energy production on the environment,” said John Suppes, founder and president of Clarum Homes. “Since 1999, we have been dedicated to building sustainable communities. These demonstration homes in Borrego Springs, California provide an opportunity to explore new products that could be economically viable both in the regular and affordable housing markets that we serve; including, our future California developments in Desert Hot Springs and Blythe, as well as, our Arizona developments in Tucson and Prescott.”

Zero Energy Homes are constructed with sustainable building products, generate their own electricity with photovoltaic systems, and reduce energy consumption by up to 90% with other energy efficient features such as on-demand hot water heaters, radiant roof barriers, high-efficiency furnaces and appliances, tightly sealed ducts, extra insulation and low-e windows.

“President Bush announced the Advanced Energy Initiative, a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, in his January State of the Union address. This includes the Solar America Initiative to accelerate the development of solar photovoltaic "PV" cells that convert sunlight directly to electricity so that future Zero Energy Homes produce more energy than they consume. These PV cells are the very products we are using in the demonstration homes,” stated Suppes.

The Borrego Springs Zero Energy Demonstration Project homes will showcase three types of wall systems – Styrofoam T-MASS, Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) and High Efficiency 24” o.c. Optimum Value Engineered (OVE) Wood Framing. In addition to the three wall systems, the demonstration homes, which share the same floor plan, will be equipped with three different cutting edge cooling systems: two of the homes feature Speakman 2 stage evaporate coolers; the third home has a Freus water cooled condenser and AC; and the fourth home features a Lennox 20.5 SEER AC. All of the homes will feature

3.2 kW Kyocera photovoltaic solar systems and have exterior shade screens.

Project goals for the demonstration homes include:

  • Design and build highly energy efficient sustainable production housing for entry level buyers
  • Achieve up to 90% energy reduction in cooling
  • Build energy efficient homes with highly sustainable characteristics while meeting Zone 4 structural requirements
  • Collect data on cost, construction schedule, production feasibility, lifecycles and quantified energy savings
  • Study date to determine cost effectiveness of sustainable technology applications
  • Run tests prior to occupancy and for 12 months after move-in to evaluate energy efficiency for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • Publish updated evaluations and efficiency data at http://www.clarumzeroenergy.com for builders, manufacturers and municipalities.

The Building Industry Research Alliance (BIRA), the Davis Energy Group (DEG) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will work closely with Clarum and ConSol to evaluate the performance of each of the homes to identify the most cost effective energy features.

During the preview event, local officials and media representatives will be shown the different energy options used throughout the project and will have the opportunity to discuss the impact on the findings with Clarum president, John Suppes, ConSol principal Rob Hammon, Ph.D. and the project designer Michael Frerking, an Arizona architect.

About Clarum

Clarum Homes is a family-owned development company devoted to building exceptional new home communities and apartments in California. Clarum’s mission of building sustainable communities began in 1999 when they began installing solar electric systems in their homes as standard equipment. Clarum Homes is now recognized nationwide as a leader in green building. In 2002, Clarum introduced the Enviro-Home™, its own Zero Energy Home prototype. A perfectly designed blend of innovative construction technologies, unsurpassed energy efficiency and the use of sustainable materials, this home was a breakthrough for Clarum Homes, and for the entire homebuilding industry. The Enviro-Home™ minimizes the use of resources, reduces harmful effects on the environment, creates healthier and more comfortable living spaces, and provides savings on utility bills.    The overwhelming response to the Enviro-Home™, and Clarum’s strong commitment to the environment, have prompted Clarum to continue building the Enviro-Home™ in all of its communities. The Clarum Homes family and management team are a dedicated group of professionals with an in-depth understanding of green building and decades of combined homebuilding experience. Clarum uses this experience to design the most attractive communities possible, to build the highest quality and most innovative product, and to provide impeccable customer service. For more information on Clarum, visit http://www.clarum.com. For additional information on the Borrego Springs project visit http://www.clarumzeroenergy.com.

About ConSol

ConSol is celebrating 25 years as the leading developer of energy solutions for production builders. Its services include mechanical engineering, energy code compliance, ComfortWise® products, and energy consulting. ConSol’s highly-skilled experts work with builders, supplying research and in-depth knowledge on the best construction practices for energy and resource efficiency. ConSol leadership has provided strong analytical and technical knowledge in support of builder needs while helping to promote practical energy policy at the local, state and federal levels. ConSol serves as the team leader of the Building Industry Research Alliance (BIRA) for the Department of Energy’s Building America program. BIRA, one of six Building America teams in the nation, is a diverse group of over thirty companies involved in this private/public partnership that provides energy solutions to build production housing over 40% more efficient than other new homes.

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