Pulte Homes, a production home builder and community developer partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program, has collaborated with the Center for Energy Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and NV Energy, the local electric utility, on an energy conservation project in the Las Vegas Valley. This study entails four model homes at a new development named Villa Trieste, located in the Summerlin community of Las Vegas. The models, ranging in floor plan area from 1,487 to 1,777 square feet, have been constructed under the Environments for Living program and have been platinum certified by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes. According to the Home Energy Rating System Index, all four models are over 50% more efficient than homes of equal size built to 2006 International Energy Conservation Code standards. The study focuses on the cost benefit of installing additional efficiency upgrades in future homes at the development. Though all proposed upgrades offer reductions in energy use, many offer little improvement relative to their installation costs. Higher-efficiency windows, heat recovery ventilators, and R-36 spray foam attic insulation have been deemed appropriate measures for future homes. All homes are to be equipped with photovoltaic arrays; increasing the size of the arrays will cost-effectively reduce net energy consumption.

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