A Rustic Zero Energy Home

This house in north Texas creates all the energy it needs.

| June 22, 2010

  • sips paneling
    Structural insulated panels (SIPs) were used for the exterior walls and the roof to provide a high level of insulation.
    FERRIER CUSTOM HOMES
  • low and no voc paint
    The house uses low-and no-VOC paints, stains and adhesives.
    FERRIER CUSTOM HOMES
  • zero energy casita
    This home in Texas has many green features, including energy efficient windows, and reclaimed wood that was used for siding.
    PHOTO: FERRIER CUSTOM HOMES
  • wind turbine
    A Skystream wind turbine provides electricity for the house.
    FERRIER CUSTOM HOMES

  • sips paneling
  • low and no voc paint
  • zero energy casita
  • wind turbine

On the edge of Eagle Mountain Lake, just northwest of Fort Worth, Texas, sits green builder Don Ferrier’s latest masterpiece — a zero energy home. Sandwiched between trees and shrubs, the house is a rustic, two bedroom home with a deep front porch. The exterior siding and interior beams are made of reclaimed barn wood, giving the home a classic, aged look. This house, which Ferrier calls the “zero energy casita,” looks like it has been here for years. In fact, it’s a brand new, eco-friendly home thanks to the insulation, wind turbine and many other influential features that leaves him with no energy bills. 

Ferrier is no stranger to green home building. His first green building was an earth-sheltered home that he built in 1982. By 1985, he was designing green homes and using structural insulated panels (SIPs), which are energy-efficient building panels that are made by sandwiching pieces of polystyrene between two pieces of oriented strand board (OSB).  He still uses these today to make all of his buildings energy efficient.

“I stumbled into it and I can’t take credit for being a visionary,” he says.

“Once into building green we were totally on board and passionate. I love it that we have made such a positive difference in so many folks’ lives.”



In 2004, he founded Ferrier Custom Homes with his daughters and long-time construction supervisor, Tom Grywatch. Ferrier went on to build the first LEED platinum home in Texas, won the 2007 Green Building Advocate of the Year award from the National Association of Home Builders and was named one of the “Godfathers of Green” by the Dallas Builder Association. Ferrier Custom Homes only builds custom homes and the company is involved in the entire process. “Proper planning and design are essential to high performance building,” Ferrier says.

When designing the zero energy casita, Ferrier’s No. 1 challenge was the hot Texas climate. Ferrier designed the casita to be air tight and well-insulated by using SIPS and low emissivity (low-e) windows. Ferrier also chose a galvanized metal roof (because its silver color will reflect up to 73 percent of heat from the sun), and installed a radiant barrier, Tyvek Home Wrap, to keep heat and water out.

permcourse
9/16/2013 9:52:37 AM

CeliaJ is correct, not much information more just another advertisement by Mother Earth for some contracting company! The materials listed in this construction are expensive and while they possibly have a good life span, there are still questions about truly long term viability versus effectiveness. :( Too many questions, too little real information, too many articles like this in Mother Earth any more. :(


CELIAJ
9/13/2013 10:07:02 PM

This article would be much more useful to me if it contained actual information about the home. How big is it? What did it cost a square foot to build? With so little air exchange, how is the air quality issue addressed? How many kilowatts of power is being generated? How many kilowatts per square feet in the home? What is the average energy useage per square foot in that climate? What is the average energy useage for the featured home? Facts -- NOT advertising -- would help the reader to understand the value and effectiveness. :)


CELIAJ
9/13/2013 10:06:46 PM

This article would be much more useful to me if it contained actual information about the home. How big is it? What did it cost a square foot to build? With so little air exchange, how is the air quality issue addressed? How many kilowatts of power is being generated? How many kilowatts per square feet in the home? What is the average energy useage per square foot in that climate? What is the average energy useage for the featured home? Facts -- NOT advertising -- would help the reader to understand the value and effectiveness. :)




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