Greg Wolfson, the chief technology officer with EcoSmart Solution, joined Studio 512 Co-Host Rosie Newberry to talk about low HERS ratings for Whisper Valley zero-energy capable homes.

Whisper Valley homes are among the most energy-efficient new homes in the nation — is that correct?

“Yes, homes in Whisper Valley achieve exceptionally efficient average Home Energy Ratings (HERS) — which is the national standard for energy efficiency. Homes are rated on a scale from 0-150 on the HERS Index. The lower the HERS rating, the more efficient the home is. Older homes typically achieve 130 ratings and even new high-performance homes that are being marketed as ‘energy-efficient’ typically only achieve HERS ratings in the 60s. We are able to achieve ratings ranging from the teens to low 20s thanks to the EcoSmart Solution technology package in our homes, including geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling, solar PV panels to generate electricity, Energy Star-rated home appliances, and an energy monitoring system that delivers real-time energy usage data to our homeowners.”

The HERS ratings your homes receive are impressive — how does this benefit a homeowner and how much can they save thanks to their zero-energy capable homes in Whisper Valley?

“The EcoSmart Solution in Whisper Valley enables zero-energy capable living, which helps homeowners enjoy average utility savings of $1,250 or more per year depending on their personal energy behaviors. Homeowners are able to take control of their own energy expenditure thanks to Sense, an energy monitoring system installed in our homes that tracks all energy usage and delivers this data in an app on the homeowner’s smart device.”

You also offer home battery options to your homes to provide resiliency in the event of a grid failure or outage, can you talk more about that?

“As we saw in the aftermath of the historic 2021 winter storm, resiliency is crucial for so many homeowners across Texas. EcoSmart in Whisper Valley offers home battery upgrade options so homeowners can better protect themselves in the event of a grid failure or power outage. The batteries are designed to charge using your home’s on-site solar PV generation, utilizing excess energy to offset peak consumption or even run the house nearly independently from the grid. And speaking of the winter storm, Whisper Valley homes are actually an example of how sustainable design is a solution to future issues with the Texas grid. Our geothermal infrastructure, the GeoGrid, is naturally winterized because it is located underground, and during this storm, our homes used about 54% less electricity to power homes when compared to typical Texas homes.”

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