DeKalb has its first zero energy ready home

DeKalb has its first zero energy ready home

Brody Bryant and his family wanted to find a way to cut their utility bills.

The Chamblee family did that by purchasing it next door to them, demolishing the home and building a certified zero energy ready home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program, a zero energy ready home offers “a whole new level of home performance, with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health, and durability.”  

The 3,764 -square-foot home, located in the Alpine Canyon community, took nearly 14 months to build. Since moving into the contemporary home two months ago, the Bryants’ utility bills have gone down by almost 40 percent.

“We wanted something different—a contemporary modern style” Bryant said. “We talked to a couple of different builders but my wife is an architect and this builder was able to have the same vision that she did to build a modern contemporary home.”

That builder was the Imery Group. The house in Chamblee is the fourth of its kind built in Georgia by Luis Imery and the Imery Group. Imery, a native of Venezuela, said he began building these types of homes after seeing how homes were built in the United States when he moved to the country.

An open house was held at the home July 28 for people interested in a zero energy ready home. Photos by Carla Parker
An open house was held at the home July 28 for people interested in a zero energy ready home. Photos by Carla Parker

“I noticed that the residential home market was very destructive in the way of homes being built,” Imery said. “Looking at the quality of construction and all of that, it was good but it could be better.” 

Imery, who has a background in civil engineering, said he began doing research and found a better way to build homes to make them more efficient, healthy and durable.

DOE zero energy ready homes are at least 40-50 percent more energy efficient than a typical new home, according to the DOE. Certified homes are third-party verified to meet high standards for indoor air quality, efficient HVAC design, water conservation, energy star appliances and fixtures, as well as other building science practices. 

The addition of a renewable energy system, such as solar panels, would allow a zero energy ready home to offset all or most of its annual energy consumption. The Bryants’ home does not yet have such a system but is designed to make the addition of a system simple in the future, as the cost of residential solar, wind and geothermal continues to drop.

DOE zero energy ready homes are at least 40-50 percent more energy efficient than a typical new home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy program.
DOE zero energy ready homes are at least 40-50 percent more energy efficient than a typical new home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy program.

“[The home] will always consume energy but it will produce more energy than what it consumes,” Imery said. “This home is pre-wired with conduit to make that very easy. It’s wired for a backup generator; it’s wired for a battery bank and it has conduits for the solar panels.”

Bryant said he and his family love their new home and how it has saved them money. However, he does miss one aspect of living in a non-zero energy home.

“The only thing that I miss is having an indoor wood-burning fireplace, which is very inefficient,” he said. “We do have an outside wood-burning fireplace. Overall, it’s a big thing for the better.” 

Imery is already planning to build more zero energy ready homes in DeKalb County.

“I’ve got two homes in the Candler Park area and I’m in conversations with potential clients that live in the Chamblee area that would like to do a tear down and a rebuild,” he said.

 

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