Suncroft House  Zero Energy Home.   Potable Rainwater.


Suncroft House Home Page

UPDATE at end of 2011 -- A decade's worth of energy produced in four years,
and still going strong.

Utility bills confirm that ten years worth of energy was produced by Suncroft House during the first four years of residence.  These results were achieved for a family of four (including two teenagers), with no burning of any kind (wood, fossil fuels, etc.)  The combination of energy efficient design, energy conservation in practice, and rooftop solar panel generation resulted in Suncroft House sending over twice as much electricity into the grid compared to what the house took from the grid. 

Suncroft House continues to provide potable rainwater for all household uses during much of the year.

UPDATE (early 2010, after two years) – still achieving better than net zero energy!

Suncroft House, an all-solar net zero energy home in Eugene, Oregon, is producing significantly more energy than it consumes.  

For 2008, electricity production was 271% of the amount consumed.

For 2009, electricity production was 273% of the consumption.

(This is more than twice the energy production required for a net zero energy home.)

These results were achieved for a family of four (including two teenagers), with no burning of any kind (wood, fossil fuels, etc.)

Energy data (verifiable from utility bills):

   2008 --  2113 kWh consumed,   5731 kWh sent into grid

   2009 --  2155 kWh consumed,   5896 kWh sent into grid

This extra energy could be used to power an electric car over 10,000 miles per year.

The net cost of the solar panels that make this possible is about the same cost as an SUV.

For the same budget as a conventional house of 1,500 square feet, a net zero energy home of 1,000 sf can easily be built (Suncroft House is 912 sf).

Potable Rainwater Update -- Zero contaminants

During the past two winters and springs, our family of four has used rainwater as our sole source of household water (for drinking, bathing, etc.) without any problems.

We have this purified rainwater tested for many contaminants (bacteria, mercury, lead, etc.), and the test results show no measurable levels for any of these potential contaminants.

In June our water storage level gets low, so we turn a couple valves to switch over to city water for the dry summer until the rainy season arrives again in the fall.

Suncroft House is located on two infill lots within the city limits of Eugene, Oregon.  The sunny upper lot holds the home and the planned vegetable gardens.  The mostly wooded lower lot will be the site of a productive forest garden.

Suncroft House produces at least as much energy in a year as it consumes.  Energy consumption is minimized by using a superinsulated, tight building envelope and energy-efficient equipment, appliances, and lighting. Solar panels capture enough energy for all space heating, water heating, cooking, lighting, and household electricity, with additional passive solar contributions to space heating.  Excess production of electricity during sunny weather goes into the grid, and this "banked" electricity is later used during the cloudy heating season.  A modest battery bank keeps the refrigerator, ventilation, and some lights working during power outages.  A small woodstove is installed as a backup for heating and cooking during extended grid failures.

Since no fossil fuel, firewood, or burning of any kind is required, normal year-round operations of the house are considered "zero carbon".

6,000 gallons of rainwater storage provides all water uses (including drinking water) for most of the year.  Rainwater is purified using multiple filtrations and ultraviolet light.  A city water hookup is used as backup.

Two bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, on three levels totalling 912 square feet of indoor living space for a family of four.  A large front porch and two decks make additional "semi-outdoor rooms".  A storage "loft" is above the upper level.  The water tank enclosure is integrated with the building design, and "crawl spaces" are used for storage and mechanical equipment.

Car-free living within an evolving permaculture setting including raised bed food production and a forest garden.

The house construction was completed in 2007, and the exterior was painted in 2008.
The gardens and site will be ongoing projects.

See links to pictures and additional pages
See new page "Virtual Tour"
Website Builder