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Zero-energy homes rely on chemistry products to maximize efficiency

The thought of handing out complimentary iPads with the purchase of a new home may sound like a ploy to lure waffling prospects, but for a group of four energy efficiency driven duplexes in Frederick, MD, the incentive comes with a very practical purpose. Homebuyers are given iPads to monitor energy efficiency, the USA Today reported last week.

Energy products and solutions from The Dow Chemical Company are helping to optimize energy use and minimize energy loss to achieve zero energy homes. The company recently unveiled “the nation’s first affordable, net-zero energy home” in Bay City, Michigan — dubbed the Vision Zero (see the above video).

The innovative company behind the Frederick, MD project mentioned above is Nexus EnergyHomes. The homes are equipped with the latest energy-efficient and renewable energy innovations, including solar panels, geothermal wells and ultra-efficient exterior walls.

The real draw for those looking to buy an energy-efficient home? They go for nearly the same price as other new homes, and are designed to generate as much power as they use, not to mention thousands of dollars in tax credits.

Nexus currently has 59 zero-energy homes under development in Frederick alone. The company describes its building model as a combination of “geo-solar” energy production and effective energy-saving building techniques and is paving the way for energy-efficient building in Frederick.

The state of Maryland is a leader in terms of upping standards for building efficiency, and was the first state to require that new homes meet the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), enabling new homes to operate at approximately 30 percent greater energy efficiency than those built just five years prior.

Other states are taking notice, and adoption is beginning to spread to states including Florida, North Carolina, Oregon and parts of Arizona. “There’s definitely been a lot of movement by states to adopt more energy-efficient codes,” says Max Neubauer of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The chemistry industry is working with legislators and industry members to encourage the adoption of the latest energy efficiency building codes, the benefits of which will be far reaching. Implementation of these codes promises to boost energy savings for home and building owners, create jobs and reduce greenhouse gases, thanks to the products of chemistry.

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