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Weber State University

In the market? Net-zero energy home built by Weber State students now for sale

By Graham Dudley, KSL.com | Posted - Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:13 p.m.


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OGDEN — Utahns who aspire to live sustainably may want to take a look at a recently completed home in Ogden's East Central neighborhood that's about to hit the market — sort of.

The 2,500-square-foot Quincy Avenue home was designed and built by Weber State University students and faculty as part of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition. The contest challenged schools around the world to build sustainable structures, and Weber State was one of just 10 finalists chosen to put its vision into practice.

The result is a net-zero energy home that faculty lead Jeremy Farner hopes will demonstrate the viability of efficient construction.

"Our goal going into this was to prove that this is marketable, that this is repeatable," Farner told KSL.com. "That's really what we're trying to do, is educate the public that this is possible. It doesn't cost too much money, and anybody could make this happen in their home."

Farner said the energy savings of a net-zero home make the up-front costs of a sustainable building well worth it. It is estimated that energy costs in the home will be about $100 per year.

The entire process of applying, planning and designing the house took several years, Farner said, but actual construction lasted only from January until about a month ago. The university partnered with Ogden City to place the house on a long-vacant lot.

The home features six bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage, basement, living room and family room, and is ready for someone to move in. The home's list price is $345,000; prospective buyers must submit an application by Oct. 1 to the listing agent to be eligible to purchase the home. If multiple offers are received, the university says a drawing will be conducted to "determine the order in which potential buyers will have an opportunity to purchase the home."

The drawing is slated for Oct. 9, and Weber State hopes to use the proceeds from the sale to finance more sustainable projects for Building Design & Construction students.

Jacie Johnson, a Weber State interior design professor who helped with the Solar Decathlon project, designed a portable kiosk Weber State could present at competition. The school was originally going to present its creation over the summer in Washington, D.C., but that trip didn't happen due to COVID-19 concerns. The kiosk will now travel to Denver in April for the competition, which includes five other American universities and four international schools from Chile, South Africa, Canada and the Netherlands.

"People think, 'Oh, it's going to cost so much to do a sustainable home. It's out of my price range,' or, 'There's nothing I can do,'" Johnson said. "There's so many things people can do. ... It's really easy, in so many ways, to be sustainable and save money and save the environment. So I think that this just gives people the opportunity to say, 'Wow, this is doable.'"

Farner said a key to the home's energy efficiency was to make it "super airtight, and also super insulated.

"We paid really close attention to where homes traditionally leak," he said.

Of course, airtight space can get stale, so the home includes a high-tech energy recovery ventilator that pretreats, or preconditions, outdoor air before it enters the home. And the home's mini split heating and cooling system will allow residents to control the environment in individual rooms.

More information about the home, located at 2807 Quincy Ave., and its sale, is available at weber.edu/solardecathlon.

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