Written by Jim Pierobon
In a state not known for policies nor utilities that encourage energy efficiency investments, there is now a clearinghouse of efficiency solutions in Northern Virginia. This Saturday, October 15, 2016, the Energy House Solutions Center is holding a preview of the first “zero-energy” home in Alexandria, engineered to incur no net energy utility costs.
You can sign up for a close-up view of the work underway to complete the build-out here.
See the first zero-energy residence in Alexandria, Virginia on October 15, 2015 and future dates. It’s located at 1212 Oronoco St. (CREDIT: Jim Pierobon)
This 1,950-square-foot residence, a short walk from the Potomac River in the Alexandria’s historic Parker Gray District, features, among other things:
- R15 basement ridged foam board insulation;
- A basement family room, bedroom and full bath that will remain so dry they won’t need a dehumidifier;
- Energy Star® appliances in the gourmet kitchen and Energy Star® windows and doors;
- a new enclosed porch usable year-around with Energy Star® advanced framing and R25 cellulose insulation;
- Interactive energy monitoring and home security technology serving the entire home and controllable from smart phones;
- R 25 rim joist natural fiber cellulose, open cell foam, insulation;
- Eight separate MiniSplit and heating/cooling zones each of which are programmable;
- Insulated window shades for all windows rated at R 8.0;
- R 49 attic insulation.
What follows is an excerpt of media coverage the Solutions Center has earned and the vision behind it, published September 1 at SoutheastEnergyNews.com:
“The only way to make it work is to be part of the overall design and construction process. We help people design energy efficiency into the remodels and work with contractors we’ve vetted who have proven to us they’ll do it right and for a fair price.”
When Juris and his participating suppliers and contractors formally unveil the Solutions Center in Alexandria, Virginia, on Saturday, September 10, the one-time high school lacrosse coach will have survived a thorough scrutiny of his business model at the 1776.vc incubator for energy, education, health and transportation startups in Crystal City, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Even with the inputs from startup professionals, Juris acknowledged building this business requires the personal energy he wasn’t quite sure he had. Perhaps that’s why his business model, he claims, is unmatched in Northern Virginia and everywhere he’s looked the U.S. That includes high-cost energy markets in California, where he researched the concept, and New England, where he lived and worked for 23 years.
Since 2010, Juris and his network of sub-contractors have completely redesigned energy systems for 13 residences in Northern Virginia, all of them integrated with renewable energy heating and cooling systems and/or insulation and other materials uniquely suited for them. He expects to complete the 14th “Energy House” as a zero-energy home this Fall.
“There are companies that do pieces of what Charley is doing, but not the whole package,” said Mike Maher, a business development manager at Rehau Construction LLC, an international supplier of geothermal energy systems based in Leesburg, Virginia.
Al Cox, a LEED-accredited architect who is a past client of Juris’ and who manages historic preservation projects in Alexandria, said Juris is the only professional he knows who addresses all the variables in re-engineering homes for improved energy efficiency and sustainability. “He looks at everything, soup-to-nuts. He’s full of ideas that make sense for individual homes that might not make sense anywhere else,” Cox said.
At the Solutions Center, Cox said, “you can see and touch the equipment and materials he talks about; you don’t have to rely on a brochure or a supplier’s web site. He then rolls the costs into a spreadsheet so you can see and track the projected return on each investment.”