Winter energy bills are a cold, hard reality for many low income Americans.  Often the winter heating bill can be larger than the rent, surprising the unlucky renter and quickly busting their budget.

Lile Engineering was approached with a unique opportunity to help Habitat for Humanity achieve an interesting goal – what if low income housing was also low energy?  We helped the local Habitat office design a new kind of home which is projected to create as much energy as it uses over a year’s time.  Our pro bono energy modeling helped Habitat win the grant that ultimately helped the home become a reality.

Show-Me Habitat for Humanity director Bill View at the Zero Energy House

Show-Me Habitat for Humanity director Bill View at the Zero Energy House

As reported in the Columbia Daily Tribune,  the 1400 square home sports an 8 kW solar array plus a solar water heater.  Including high efficiency air source heat pumps, extra insulation, high performing windows, EnergyStar appliances, and an energy recovery ventilator, the home used $20 worth of energy to stay comfy during the bitter January weather of 2015.

A grant from the local utility, Columbia Water and Light, as well as the Central Missouri Community Action Agency helped make the home a reality.  Total cost of the Habitat home was $125,000 including a $30,000 solar array, and it was recently sold to a low income family.  A number of companies and individuals donated funds and services to help the house become a reality, including Lile Engineering, local real estate agents, and Solar installer Dogwood Solar.


Until next time,

Stay Energized!