As the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is identifying ways in which consumers make their homes more energy efficient, the Systems Building Research Alliance (SBRA) has selected Clayton Homes to build three homes for a 15-month energy-performance test. One of the test homes is the only manufactured home in the nation to qualify for the DOE Challenge Home Program.
Southern Energy Homes, Inc. (SEhomes), a subsidiary of Clayton Homes, built the three different test homes at its home building facility in Double Springs, Alabama. Testing will be conducted at SEhomes’ new state-of-the-art home building facility in Russellville, Alabama., where they will be on display at its August 8, 2014 opening event. Each of the test homes represents a different level of energy efficiency: one complies with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) thermal standards, one is an ENERGY STAR® qualified home and one meets the DOE requirements for the Challenge Home Program, also known as a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home.
The SBRA will monitor and conduct analysis on each of the SBRA test homes to determine whether or not the yearly energy-saving benefits from the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home generate efficiencies associated with this superior level of energy performance. Testing began in April 2014 and will continue through July 2015. Depending on the results, the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home could be built in the future and made available to consumers. Undergoing the SBRA testing process shows Clayton Homes’ pursuit of the efficient use of energy, pointed out Keith Holdbrooks, president of CMH Manufacturing, Inc., Clayton Homes’ manufacturing division.
Since 2008, the DOE’s Builders Challenge Program has recognized hundreds of leading builders for their achievements in energy efficiency—resulting in more than 14,000 energy-efficient homes and millions of dollars in energy savings. According to the DOE, the Challenge Home Program “represents a whole new level of home performance, with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health and durability. A DOE Zero Energy Ready Home is a high-performance home that is so energy efficient, that a renewable-energy system can offset all or most of its annual energy consumption.”
Some of the advanced features in the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home include advanced wall framing, fiberglass insulation roofs, high performance double-glazed windows, compact fluorescent lamp lighting and all ENERGY STAR® appliances.
“These homes will showcase three different levels of energy efficiency as we search for the most cost-effective and value-added energy solutions for our customers,” said Mark Ezzo, vice president of engineering at Clayton Homes. “The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home employs advanced insulation components and an HVAC system to address building science challenges and provide energy-efficient solutions for the future.”
A total of 23 CMH Family of Brands’ home building facilities received the 2014 ENERGY STAR® Market Leader Award based on 2013 performance. Its pursuit of ISO Environmental certification will highlight these types of continual advances and improvements.
The SBRA’s testing process partly is underwritten by the Tennessee Valley Authority as an extension of its critically successful ENERGY STAR® rebate program. The tests are co-sponsored by the DOE Building America Program and research partners Clayton Windows, DOW Corporation, Johns Manville, Mitsubishi Electric and Nordyne.