Aiming to reduce energy demand by more than 60 percent over traditional residential communities, Pulte Homes says its Villa Trieste is expected to be one of the most energy efficient-communities in Nevada. The community’s grand opening was held Jan. 9. Villa Trieste, a 185-unit community in northwest Las Vegas, is the first residential development in the Southwestern United States to provide as standard a combination of solar power, LEED certification, and Environments for Living (EFL) building methods, according to a statement by the builder. Specific features include:
- an integrated solar power system that blends seamlessly with roofing materials
- advanced meters that track energy use in real time to reduce meter errors and save costs
- centralized battery storage at the substation to draw energy from homes’ solar systems during off-peak hours for use during peak periods
- demand response technology that allows utilities to adjust energy output to the home during peak hours when the grid becomes strained
Each Villa Trieste home will feature a SunPower SunTile roof-integrated solar-electric power system and a wall-mounted “touch-screen dashboard” that will connect to a solar and energy meter to allow homeowners to see how much energy they are generating and using in real time.
“As energy prices increase in the future, homeowners will have security in knowing that they will be less affected than most others,” said Scott Wright, president of Pulte’s Las Vegas division, adding that the dwellings come with a three-year heating, cooling, and temperature comfort guarantee. “Villa Trieste is kind of like our version of the Toyota Prius, we like to refer to Villa Trieste as being a community of hybrid homes.”
Wright said the homes in Villa Trieste, ranging from 1,487 to 1,960 square feet and priced from the $200s, will cost substantially less to operate than traditional homes. The advanced construction methods used in Villa Trieste should reduce homeowners’ electrical and gas bills by more than 60 percent, versus a 15 percent reduction for a typical Energy Star home.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Center for Energy Research, in partnership with Pulte Homes and NV Energy, received $7 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a model community that will significantly reduce peak residential energy demand. One aim of the community is to reduce strain on the electrical grid, which can result in higher energy costs and even brownouts and blackouts during the summer months. "Reducing the demand for electricity during peak summer hours has become a significant issue for both homeowners and utilities, particularly in the heat of the Desert Southwest," said Bob Boehm, director of UNLV's Center for Energy Research.
In addition to the $7 million from the DOE, the grant collaboration involves millions of dollars in cost sharing from various partners. For example, NV Energy is providing rebates through its Cool Share, Energy Plus, and Zero Energy Home Programs.
In the midst of a challenging home building environment, Villa Trieste is an example of how public-private partnerships can fuel the green building movement, according to Greg Kern, director of conservation programs at NV Energy. “The end result is homes of the highest-quality for residents who seek a home that provides greater comfort, lower operating costs, and a healthier environment for their families,” he concluded.