Two of the zero energy homes were built in the historic Independence Heights neighborhood in north Houston. Built by HouZE — spelled H-O-U-Z-E — for zero energy.
Company Chairman and CEO David Goswick is a third generation builder. His great grandfather developed Woodland Heights more than a hundred years ago. He says the homes he build look like they could have been built 50-100 years ago, but they perform totally different.
"With confidence, I can say that we're introducing the most advanced affordable homes anywhere in the world. Features technologies that we only dreamed about, and I think the closest comparison is the advancement of a mobile device or a mobile phone. Ten years ago, imagine what that looked like. Today it looks considerably different."
He says he couldn't wait for the rest of the homebuilding industry to adapt to changes affecting energy efficiency and new technologies.
"The HERS rating, the Home Energy Rating on this home is a 44. That may not mean a whole lot to everyone, but a typical American home, the score is 130. A typical new home is 100. An Energy Star home is 85. This home, before the production of electricity, is a 44. That means it's using very little."
The home builder's selection of Independence Heights impressed Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
"This is a neighborhood that is ripe for transformation, and speaking for the City of Houston, we believe that our partnership with HouZE in this innovative new type of housing development will help transform this neighborhood in all of the right ways."
Laura Spanjian, the city's sustainability director, says the homes being built represent cutting edge technology.
"It has amazing energy-efficient appliances. The second cutting-edge, first-of-its-kind technology is the micro co-generation unit, that actually is providing more power to the house than it needs. So most co-generation units are large. They're for industrial or commercial use. This is a first-of-its-kind for a residential house. So we are so excited that this is launched in Houston."
HouZE plans to build 30 homes, priced between 120 to $200,000 dollars in the neighborhood, and will expand to 35 cities over the next 2 years.