An environmental resource for East Tennessee Businesses

Cutting-edge home show: houses serve as labs for energy innovations

On Monday, Schaad Companies and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, along with partners BarberMcMurry architects, TVA and a number of building technology companies, officially unveiled four homes in the Wolfs Creek subdivision built to test efficient technologies and building practices.

News Sentinel business writer Larisa Brass wrote about the project in a recent column.

More than 30 companies in the construction business, from Du Pont and Whirlpool to Knoxville-based Simple Control, have provided new products to be tested in the homes. The houses are wired with dozens of sensors to measure the effectiveness of the efficiency measures and will remain unoccupied for two years as researchers measure the results, she says.

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"The goals really were to merge science with industry to drive innovation into the marketplace," said Jenny Banner, CEO of Schaad Companies, which invested approximately $2 million to build the homes as part of what's known as the Zero Energy Building Research Alliance or ZEBRAlliance.

Features of the homes include:

Structural insulated panels, advanced framing techniques, airtight construction and insulated basements and crawlspaces; Novel technologies and materials include infrared reflective roofing, geothermal heating and water heating systems in various arrays, ventilators to maintain air quality and proper humidity, weather-resistant wall panels, and moisture-resistant, airtight flooring, cellulose insulation and polystyrene exterior insulation.

According to research on the homes, they are 55-50 percent more efficient than traditionally built houses.

Read the full article on Knoxvillebiz.

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