From building ENERGY STAR certified homes, to meeting LEED standards on our new home builds , to tackling special energy-efficient projects like our Net-Zero home and Monopath and OptiMN homes with the U of M, Twin Cities Habitat is always exploring new ways to improve construction and environmental efficiencies in the homes we build. Our next step? Building solar-ready homes.
On new single-family home sites that make sense (meaning we can have large roof areas in a south-facing orientation), we are building the homes to be "PV(photovoltaic)-ready". This includes conduit installed from the attic to the basement for a future PV array, a dedicated space (plywood mounted on the wall) in the utility room for a future inverter, and roof trusses designed to carry the weight of a future PV array. The array consists of modules or panels that function as an electricity-producing unit.
"We strive to set homebuyers up for success in every area possible," said Noah Keller, Lead Project Manager and Global Engagement Manager at Twin Cities Habitat. "We believe that taking a few low-cost steps during construction creates a much easier path for homeowners wishing to add solar panels to their homes in the future."
On houses where these steps are taken, the plan to have them certified as Zero Energy Ready (ZER) homes by the U.S. Department of Energy. Twin Cities Habitat's first ZER certified house was a build located on James Ave N in Minneapolis. A majority of new houses from our most recent build season have been or are being built to ZER standards, though they have yet to be certified.