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Zero Energy Homes

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Gainesville Builder Seeks an End to Electric Bills, Boost to the Environment

Groundbreaking for Gainesville’s first designed "Zero-Energy" home this Wednesday

Gainesville, FL (Feb 2, 2009) - This Wednesday, February 4th, the future of home building begins in Gainesville, Florida. Longtime local builder & green home pioneer Tommy Williams will break ground on the area's first designed "Zero Energy" home. Tabbed "The Home of the Future", a Zero Energy home will create enough energy to sustain itself. And while it still has service from a local utility company, in this case Clay Electric, the net energy bill at the end of the month will be zero – or less. The homeowner may even receive a credit back from the utility company.

The ground breaking ceremony will begin at 4:00 p.m. in Longleaf Village, a relatively new community in southwest Gainesville. Representatives from The U.S. Department of Energy, The Florida Solar Energy Center, the local real estate community, Clay Electric and "Green" advocates, including University of Florida Soccer Coach Becky Burleigh, will be on hand to take part in the event.

Everyone involved in this futuristic home hopes to show homeowners that the technology of the future is here and they can save money, breathe healthier air, conserve resources and reduce greenhouse gasses now. Few people realize our homes are bigger polluters than our vehicles. According to the EPA, the typical home can cause twice the greenhouse gas as the typical car.

While "The home of the future" used to conjure up images of geo-domes and domestic cubicles, this futuristic home will look more like – well, like other Tommy Williams homes. It will have 10' ceilings, crown molding, wood floors, and a spacious, open floor plan. But it will be different. It will have high-tech solar panels on the rear roof, a solar water heater and, best of all, an electric meter that runs in both directions: charging the electric company the same way they charge consumers – at the exact same rate. Ken Fonerow, Energy Analyst and President of Florida H.E.R.O. says, due to it’s mainstream design and the plan to deliver a true zero energy home at the most affordable price possible, "This home could be a watershed for new, residential construction, not just for Gainesville but for the whole country".

The price of the home will fall in the middle of the pack for homes in Longleaf Village, likely in the $275,000 - $300,000 range, after rebates, for just over 2000 square feet. The extra cost required to build it as a zero energy home will, after rebates and tax incentives, be about the same as an upgrade to granite countertops and wood floors throughout the home. As Tommy Williams puts it: "Your granite countertops will never write a check for your electric bill. But these new energy features might just pay for those granite countertops".