Building a Zero Energy Community in Frederick City

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NEXUS Homes, Bentz Street
Located on a busy street in downtown Frederick, Bentz Street might seem like an unlikely location for some of the most technologically advanced, environmentally conscious housing in the county.  Once you’re inside the model home there’s an immediate quiet, though it might take a few minutes to notice that the cars streaming by outside are nearly inaudible.  Once it’s pointed out you realize how much care has gone into the construction of these homes.

nexus2_2012Every home follows strict net zero energy standards.  Under normal conditions, each house will produce as much energy as it uses in a year.  This includes heating and air conditioning.  This is achieved through a combination of super insulation, tight building envelope using SIP’s, photovoltaic panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and a duct system that is sealed at every single joint with a caulk-like substance.  No duct-tape in this house!

The innovative TRV (Total Recovery Ventilation) allows all Nexus Homes to operate at peak efficiency during either summer or winter and lower ventilation load by up to 90%.

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TRV dynamically mixes the incoming and outgoing air to lessen the heating load on the house.  It also reduces humidity by offloading water molecules to a separate exhaust system.

Most interesting, however, is the suite of electronic monitoring systems available for homeowners.  These include “house of the future” style touches like remote control over lights in the house, remote access to security cameras and text message alerts about whether doors are locked or whether the doorbell has just been pressed.  You can monitor energy usage, produce reports and graphs that let you see your usage over time to develop strategies to get you closer to the net zero ideal.

Nexus Vision software puts all the information you need in your nexus4_2012hands.  Nexus Energy Homes each come with an iPad and a custom app to allow control over your thermostat and other Nexus Vision features.  Nexus Vision can also be accessed via a desktop or laptop PC from any location.

All these technologies have existed for a while, but Nexus Homes is the first company to devote the time and energy to research and develop ways to combine them in a user friendly, maximally efficient design.