Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Friday, May 24, 2024

Energy-efficient homes come without electric bills

Finding a living space that is easy on the environment and uses no electricity is simple - just find a tent.

But finding a home with all the comforts of modern living and without a monthly utility bill can be a lot more challenging.

Enter local developer Richard Schackow. He's planning a unique community of energy efficient, solar-powered homes - and with two houses nearly done, his vision has already broken ground.

Besides the solar panel units on the roofs, which provide clean energy at no cost, the houses look ordinary from outside. They sit at the future site of Forest Creek, a tree-flanked block about two miles north of campus at Northwest 17th Street and 34th Place. Both are around 1,600 square feet and have three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

But the real science of how these homes work is in the details.

The ceiling, Schackow said, is coated in reflective metal shingles that bounce heat back. Wide overhangs and thick double-pane windows light the interior naturally without giving up insulation. Fiberglass doors, granite countertops and ceramic flooring keep the rooms cool.

And all the appliances inside meet federal energy efficiency standards.

During the day the homes stay cool and insulated with little effort. At night excess solar energy stored earlier is put to use or added to the city's power grid.

But all that innovation doesn't come cheap. Schackow estimated that the homes were about $15,000 pricier than a similar home without all of the energy-saving doodads.

But, he added, the initial investment is balanced out by several other cost-saving measures.

Solar rebates from Gainesville Regional Utilities and the U.S. Department of Energy, federal tax credits and, of course, no monthly electric bill add up to make the homes as efficient on wallets as they are on wattage.

The homes are Gainesville's first foray into no-energy living, though builders in South Florida and elsewhere have already constructed similar projects.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

"A lot of people who would be interested in this respect efficiency," said Schackow. "They recycle trash. They care for the environment. It's kind of like a contribution you make to the town you live in."

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.