It's good to see the "green" term being replaced by the more precise and helpful "high performance" term. (Although don't worry, GreenGeezer is not changing its name.) I just received our first issue of Eco-structure magazine (July/August issue) and was pleased to see an article on the test houses being built by the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Building America program. These houses are part of an effort to shift the building industry toward high performance, sustainable-design practices, a movement which needs a jump-start. The article "Zero Energy", by Chris Schwind reports that:
"A 2006 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., estimates widespread market adoption of zero-energy homes, or ZEHs, could begin as early as 2012. If research and development of ZEH packages and federal incentives for on-site renewable energy generation continue, projected market diffusion of ZEHs by 2050 would account for 67 percent of single-family housing starts."
The test homes are being built at an affordable $94 per square foot, and use a combination of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) , air-source heat pumps, and rooftop PV arrays. Supporting statistics can be viewed at www.toolbase.org