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Sustainable and Energy Efficient - The Net Zero Home

Sustainable and Energy Efficient - The Net Zero Home

Posted: March 10, 2023 | Projects

Photos Courtesy: Oliver Frazier, Suntuity Solar

Piscataway is a bedroom suburb of the New York metropolitan area located in the heart of the Raritan Valley region in an historic district known as Society Hill. The town of Piscataway is one of the oldest in the United States. Established in 1666 by settlers from New England, it is the fifth oldest town in New Jersey.

Piscataway will now and forever be known as the home of a unique residential net zero energy structure appropriately named “The Net Zero Home”. Designed and built as a pilot project by Suntuity Home (in partnership with Square Center LLC Architecture and Design and Englert Inc.), this sprawling nearly 6,000-square foot, state-of-the-art home was built solely with sustainability, energy efficiency, and comfort in mind.

The brainchild of CEO Dan Javan, Suntuity Home’s first Net Zero structure serves as a distinctive home running solely on renewable energy sources. It operates as a completely self-sustaining LEED® Platinum Certified home that meets both Energy Star® and Department of Energy requirements.

The Project

With its impressive façade durably constructed of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) and draped with James Hardie Espresso fiber cement siding featuring both vertical and horizontal patterns for a striking effect, this larger than life oneof-a-kind structure is accentuated by handsome cultured stone finishes and two grand stone columns welcoming visitors to the residence. The modern design of this elegant home provides an interesting oasis in this comfortable neighborhood.

The subtle look of the travertine walkways that mingle with the accent stone, cable railings, and cedar struts and soffits complement the assortment of earth tones and are all brought together by a beautiful Englert standing seam metal roof. The dark bronze standing seam metal roof provides a clean, crisp finish to this classic, contemporary home — delivering the warm feel of a ski lodge transplanted into the middle of this lovely town in central New Jersey.

Run solely on renewable energy sources, every aspect of the Net Zero Home’s design was calculated to conserve energy and capture as much of the sun’s energy for heat in the winter and to retain cooling in the summer as possible. The interior design has multiple breezeways in all directions, creating cross ventilation throughout the house. Even the grand overhangs finished off with cedar accents (struts and soffits) and a standing seam metal roof contribute to making cooling requirements low in the summer.

The home features a 31+kW PV solar system on its southfacing roof and Tesla Powerwall® storage batteries (7.6 kilowatts each) as a supplemental power source.

The PVKIT® direct-attach™ rail-less, solar mounting solution secures 80 LG high-efficiency solar panels in place, and the PVKONCEAL™ module skirt conceals the lower edge of the modules and all mechanical and electrical components underneath. The roof also features the complete ColorGard® snow retention system.

Energy Efficient — Totally Off the Grid

This breathtaking new home is the first self-sustaining net zero energy project of its kind built in central New Jersey and the first ever built with ICF. The home features 80 LG high efficiency rooftop solar modules that generate over 31 kilowatts of electricity installed on a 5,000-square-foot metal roof provided by Englert, nine Tesla storage batteries (7.6 kilowatts each), a Warmboard geothermal heating system that heats the entire home, a five-zone cooling system that follows the path of the sun from east to west, a dual hybrid back-up heat pump system, 100% LED lighting throughout the home, three-pane argon-filled Low E windows, Panoramic doors, an 18,000-square-foot rain catchment system that will save and recycle up to 40,000 gallons of water per year, and a spectacular 29,000-gallon infinity pool.

The Standing Seam Metal Roof

The roof profile selected for the Net Zero Home was the Englert A1500 snap lock panel system in dark bronze. It covers over 5,000 square feet on the main roof as well as the outdoor kitchen that sits beside the pool. The main roof is a fairly complex design that features a number of intricate roof details.

The fabrication and installation of the standing seam roof panels was undertaken by MBL Construction of Long Branch, New Jersey. “There were a number of challenges we faced with respect to this project,” commented Tiago Tagliavola, President and CEO of MBL Construction. “First and foremost, the home was built in the middle of a pandemic, which created an assortment of unique challenges with regard to availability and delivery of materials as well as several intermittent work stoppages due to positive COVID tests.”

Englert material was also used to wrap the home’s fascia as well as to form the home’s gutters and large custom downspouts. “We’re very pleased with the way the roof turned out,” said Dan Javan, CEO of Suntuity Home and designer of the project. “The Englert metal roof complements the home’s architecture and really brings everything together nicely. The standing seam metal roof is an ideal platform for solar integration and was a critical component to this project,” he added.

The Challenges

There were numerous challenges on the project, not to mention the ongoing supply chain issues and work stoppages due to the pandemic.

The main metal roof is a fairly complex design with a variety of angles, cuts and intricate roof details. “Because it is a custombuilt home with so many environmental objectives and requirements, the roof installation was even more complex. In addition, there were some very complex angles, cuts and roof details we needed to tackle and, because this was a custom home with so many environmental requirements, the roof installation was even more complex. But at the end of the day, we were able to deliver exactly what was required and we’re quite satisfied with the result,” explained Tagliavola.

Additionally, Suntuity Home desired quality roof attachments for this new high-end roof. Aesthetics, durability, perfect color and finish matching, and penetration-free attachments that would maintain the roof’s integrity, were all crucial factors in selecting rooftop attachments.

The Solutions

The metal roof panels, made from 25% recycled material, are environmentally friendly and are LEED and Energy Star compliant. The low-gloss, IR-reflective coating helps reduce energy consumption and will keep the roof surface approximately 60-70 degrees cooler during the summer months.

The metal roof also features matching S-5! ColorGard snow guards on every roof surface and all 80 solar panels on the south facing roof are attached with S-5! PV kits and finished off with S-5! solar panel skirts. In fact, the Net Zero Home is the first project to use these S-5! skirts.

The roof serves as the ideal platform for solar integration since the solar panels could be mounted directly onto the standing seams of the roof utilizing S-5!’s penetration-free, solar solution. The PVKIT direct-attach system was selected for its strength, durability and ease of installation.

S-5!’s new PVKONCEAL module skirt creates an attractive, clean, finished look. It also keeps critters, debris and other unwanted objects out from under the solar array.

Additionally, S-5!’s ColorGard mounted to every roof surface protects the grounds from dangerous melting snow and ice sliding off the roof. ColorGard was chosen for its excellent performance, compatibility with Englert’s standing seam panel design and aesthetics.

Inside the House

The interior of the home has a rustic and contemporary, yet modern, feel to it, with vast open spaces accented in oak and stone. The five-bedroom, fiveand-a-half bathroom house features a state-of-the-art in-home theater as well as a large office, along with a few other quirky hideaways within the home.

In the grand room adjacent to the foyer and spacious kitchen, the home features a 600 gallon, energy efficient, saltwater fish tank built into the two-story stacked stone wall, which is bookended on either side by two oak accented murphy door bookcases that open into spacious hidden rooms.

The stairways throughout the home feature motion sensor LED accent lighting and are edged with striking oak and steel cable rails that add to the modern feel of the home. The crown molding throughout the home also features LED accent lighting.

The kitchen is an open design with modern cabinetry, a spacious island with a beautiful quartz countertop that seats four, and features commercial appliances, including a Sub Zero refrigerator and Wolf oven and stovetop. The hidden walk-in cupboard is enormous and can accommodate enough supplies for a small restaurant. 

Through a wall of large Panoramic hingeless doors the entire back of the house is completely open to a gorgeous and inviting infinity pool that rests tranquilly beside a covered outdoor kitchen area overlooking the property.

There is no conventional lighting in the home. Every light throughout the house is LED lit and can be controlled by a cell phone. In fact, the entire house is fully automated and Alexa enabled. Everything from the lights, thermostats, appliances, and blinds to the faucets and toilets is fully automated.

Interesting Facts About the Net Zero Home

The Net Zero Home is designed to withstand hurricane force winds yet cost less to build than a traditional stick frame home!

Carbon Footprint — The Suntuity Solar System on this home alone reduces the Net Zero Home’s carbon footprint by 29.3 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of:

• 72,837 miles driven by a standard automobile in one year
• 3,302 gallons of gasoline consumed
• 32,466 pounds of coal burned
• 8 barrels of oil consumed
• 10.2 tons of waste
• Carbon sequestered by 34.7 acres of US forests in one year

Additional Energy Savings — The Net Zero Home is completely self-sustainable and powered by renewable energy sources but is tied to the utility grid for back up. The home features 80 LG high efficiency rooftop solar modules that generate over 31 kilowatts of electricity.

The Warmboard radiant heating system on the first and second floors are built onto 16-foot trusses heating the entire home. The central portion of the basement also includes radiant floor heating.

A rain catchment system on 1,800 square feet of roof serves as a water harvesting and filtration method to reduce additional water consumption and is projected to save over 40,000 gallons of water per year (with a 100,000 gallon capacity).

The roof panels are environmentally friendly and made from 25% recycled material. They are LEED and Energy Star compliant. The low-gloss, non-reflective coating helps reduce energy bills by up to 50% and keeps the surface 60-70 degrees cooler than other roof coatings.

The home features 3-Pane Ply Gem windows throughout with argon gas insulation, low emissivity and a U Factor of 0.28.

The infinity pool features extremely efficient variable speed DC pumps and has two heaters — a gas fired heater and an electric heat pump that run in stages. The waste heat from the gas heater that heats the pool is being recycled back into the pool through the heat pump to further increase heating efficiency and reduce wasted energy.

The HRV and ERV are HEPA compliant, and any moist air from the basement is being directed into a heat pump. The HRV in the basement recirculates conditioned air from the water heater which sucks the heat out and condenses the air, circulating dry air throughout the house.


• Panoramic Doors were selected because of their combination PVC and aluminum construction, which result in improved thermal conditions and structural strength. Their hingeless design allows for increased efficiency and functionality.
• All of the cedar used for this project was imported from Canada and milled at the site. The stepping stones and custom pavers throughout the property are a combination of natural stone and recycled concrete.
• All paint finishes and stains utilized on the project are 100% environmentally friendly.
• Garage doors and floor are fully insulated.
• Decking material IPE Ironwood has one of the highest hardness ratings in the world.
• The infinity pool was formed from ICF and shares a wall with the home’s basement (saving concrete).
• The metal roof panels for the standing seam metal roof were roll-formed on site.
• Color choices and materials used for the project were selected based on energy efficiency and, in the case of the metal roofing material, solar reflectivity.

Additional Environmental Features

• Warmboard geothermal heating system to heat the entire home
• 5-zone cooling system that follows the path of the sun from East to West
• Dual hybrid backup heat pump system
• 100% LED lighting throughout
• 3-pane, argon-filled Low E windows
• Panoramic doors
• 18,000-square-foot rain catchment system that will save and recycle up to 40,000 gallons of water per year
• 29,000-gallon infinity pool

Project Stats

• Roof Profile: Englert A1500 snaplock architectural metal roof system
• Roof Measured: 5,000+ square feet on the main roof + the outdoor adjacent kitchen
• Roof Pitch: 24 degrees
• Solar Project Size: 31+ kW
• Solar Modules: 80 rooftop DualSun’s SPRING® hybrid solar modules
• Battery System: 9 Tesla Powerwall® storage batteries (7.6 kilowatts each)

In Conclusion

The Net Zero Home is the first of what will be many Net Zero Homes built by Suntuity Home and Englert. It was built with energy efficiency in mind and every aspect of the construction, from the materials selected to the features included within the home, were carefully thought out in terms of conserving energy and reducing the home’s carbon footprint.

“It was an enjoyable, but challenging, process,” said Dan Javan about building their first energy independent home in the midst of a worldwide Pandemic. “We learned a great deal during the process and we look forward to building many more of these homes in the future” added Javan. “It is our goal to offer homeowners around the country the opportunity to build luxurious, energy efficient homes at an affordable price. We are truly committed to helping bring homeowners and business owners alike into a more sustainable, ideally carbon free future that will positively affect generations to come.

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