Unique Spaces: The DC Area’s First Net Zero Home

by Fritz Hubig

Unique Spaces: The DC Area's First Net Zero Home: Figure 1
Rendering of Bethesda Net Zero Home

Construction of the very first Net Zero home in the DC area is now complete. The four-bedroom, 3,500 square-foot house in Bethesda has risen the bar for energy-efficient properties, and may be the first home in the metropolitan area to receive Platinum LEED certification, the highest rating for environmental standards under the U.S. Green Building Council.

In short, a Net Zero home is one that produces more energy than it consumes over the course of a year. The details of this house near Glen Echo, designed by local architect Marcie Meditch, were painstakingly thought through with this concept in mind. From the original choice of a pie-shaped lot that allows for passive site orientation to intelligently harness solar power, to the geothermal heating system and designer low-flow toilets, every aspect of the property is in keeping with the architect’s original vision.

Unique Spaces: The DC Area's First Net Zero Home: Figure 2
Kitchen in Net Zero Home

The house also has solar panels on the roof to help produce energy and a porous driveway that is designed to get rid of storm water runoff. In addition to these green elements, the property has some fun touches like completely invisible in-wall speakers and a touch-screen based system that controls the audio visual and stereo system throughout the home. All Around Technology's Tim Rooney created a video display in the front hall that uses a hidden projector to display art from the owner's collection.

"Combined with the invisible speakers, it's a dramatic entrance, for sure," Rooney told UrbanTurf.

The home recently sold to interior designer and environmentalist Ann Luskey for $1.8 million. She and her three children are now settling in and getting used to their new eco-friendly environment. While Net Zero properties typically cost more money up front (buyers usually pay a 3 to 7 percent premium), in the long run the home produces most of the energy, so annual utility costs hover right around zero. And while the price tags for these homes is fairly high right now, that will change in the next few years as the building materials and technology become more commonplace.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/unique_spaces_the_dc_areas_first_net_zero_home/1550


  1. Simon Landau said at 5:52 pm on Saturday November 28, 2009:
    This place looks awesome. Bethesda has a ton of living options, but this NetZero property will definitely make its way. Bethesda seems like the perfect place to try out a project like this.
  1. Marla Ray said at 2:47 am on Monday November 30, 2009:
    What a fabulous home! Look forward to seeing more like them in the near future. Kudos to all involved.
  1. Stuart Perkins said at 10:38 pm on Wednesday December 2, 2009:
    This looks like an amazing house and I can't wait to see more Net Zero homes in the area!
  1. Stan Sersen said at 11:51 pm on Sunday December 6, 2009:
    In order to achieve carbon neutrality and stop the harmful levels of carbon dioxide that the human species has been pumping into the atmosphere, we MUST begin to design and build buildings that acheive the results of what we see here. Kudos, to the designers, builders, and Owners for taking us into the future to reach the age of regeneration. You have the full backing of those in the green building community. Keep up the great work! Stan Sersen - founder - Green Building Institute
  1. newhomelistings said at 1:09 am on Wednesday December 23, 2009:
    This is an amazing example of where we have come in green housing. With homes like this already sold and in place, it will only be a matter of time before this trend takes off and affordable green housing will become a reality.

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