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Sustainable Design for the 21st Century

Case Study: A Net-Zero Energy Home in Urbana, Illinois

Net Zero Home in Ubana, Illinois

by:  Rob Kanter

CNX.org; September 10, 2012

How much fossil fuel does it take to operate a comfortable home for a couple of retired American baby-boomers?  None.

That’s according to Ty and Deb Newell of Urbana, Illinois. Moreover, they hope the example of their home, the Equinox House, will awaken others to the opportunity of constructing a net-zero energy house in the Midwest using technology available today.

The Newells celebrated the first anniversary of life in the Equinox House in late 2011, so they now possess more than a year’s worth of data about how much electricity they used on day-to-day basis, as well as how much electricity their solar panels produced.

According to Ty Newell, who is professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Equinox House required about 12,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity to operate from December 2010 through November 2011. That total includes electricity for heating and air conditioning, hot water heat, clothes washing and drying, and all other appliances. No natural gas is used in the house.

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