Energy Efficiency Programs
California Energy Commission

All-Electric/Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Communities

In 2006 the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Public Utilities Commission established the “Big Bold” goal of zero net energy new homes by 2020. Since that goal was established, ConSol has worked with numerous developers and builders to determine practical construction practices that move the residential construction market towards zero net energy. Recently the California energy policy has shifted towards electrification/decarbonization while maintaining the goal of cost-effective zero net energy homes.

In 2015 ConSol won a competitive Electric Power Investment Charge (EPIC) contract from the CEC to build a zero net energy community. ConSol partnered with Fresno-based De Young Properties in the development of the largest zero net energy (ZNE) single-family community in California. De Young RidgeView and Highlands, located in Fresno County, will include over 70 ZNE homes when built out in 2020. ConSol developed zero net energy home designs that incorporated innovative energy-efficient and renewable building technologies. Many of the homes were all-electric, including heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and induction stoves. By incorporating energy efficiency considerations early in the design phase, our team was able to minimize the costs associated with building zero net energy homes.

ConSol instrumented all homes with advanced energy and environmental monitoring and analysis technology to monitor energy usage, solar production, water flow, temperatures, humidity, and other performance attributes. Market analysis and homebuyer preference surveys were performed for all-electric and zero net energy homes. This information is used for analysis, verification, and refinement of the ZNE home designs and will be invaluable for providing design assistance to builders of all-electric communities and for future energy efficiency programs.

The development was supported by a grant from the CEC EPIC program and administered by the California Homebuilding Foundation (CHF) to demonstrate cost-effective construction of ZNE single-family homes.

As part of this program, ConSol performed:

  • Market assessments
  • Development of cost-optimized strategies for ZNE
  • Design and construction support
  • Behavioral evaluation and surveys
  • Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) assessments
  • Monitoring of moisture in sealed and insulated attic assemblies
  • Analysis of energy use and comparison to modeled estimates
  • Comparative cost analyses of all-electric and mixed-fuel ZNE homes
  • Financing analysis for community solar