Solar Energy; Net Zero
From its inception Bayview Village has been focused on energy conservation and sustainability. As described in the Green Building section, structurally insulated panels (SIPs), the basic building block at Bayview Village, provide greater energy efficiency than standard "stick building." Some sources say that SIPs are 30-50% more efficient, others say 50-60% more efficient. A 6" SIPs wall has an R-Value of 21.6 while a 6" stud wall has an R-Value of 13.7. This efficiency equates to savings on heating and cooling costs to the owner at Bayview Village. It also equates to less fuel consumption in our environment, and, of course, a lower carbon footprint.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are used to generate electricity for lighting and appliances at Bayview Village. High initial installation costs are moderated by federal tax credits and improving technology. The system is set up so that it sometimes takes electricity from the grid and sometimes feeds back onto the grid, with approximate zero net for the year, making operation virtually free. Thermal solar is used for hot water and space heating; interiors feature slim, wall-mounted, hot water radiators and heated towel racks in the bathrooms.
Highly reflective exterior building materials and the placement of double glazed, reflective windows make efficient use of the sun's energy, shielding from heat in the summer and maximizing light in the winter. Skylights and clerestories with exterior sunshades, awnings and sun baffles provide natural light to interiors and avoid bright/dark interior lighting contrast caused by direct sun.
In the winter, buildings use air exchangers with air filters to maximize indoor air quality. Given the tight construction, air exchange is important for the ongoing control of mold and bacteria; and, air exchangers continuously refresh inside air when windows are closed. In the summer, windows at both ends of the building allow cross breezes when the windows are open; whole house fans keep the air circulating.
High efficiency Energy Star appliances are used exclusively: refrigerator, range, dishwasher, microwave oven, front-load clothes washers and dryers. Owners are encouraged to use high efficiency, Energy Star computers and entertainment electronics. And, high efficiency Energy Star lighting is used throughout the development, using compact fluorescent bulbs whenever feasible. Walkway lights and fountains are solar powered. And, water conservation means less pumping of water, again saving electricity.