If you are a lover of iconic rural architecture and green living, you may be drawn to this net-zero solar farmhouse from North Carolina-based Deltec Homes. The home offers a streamlined but still classic exterior with net-zero energy (NZE) energy performance, meaning it can generate all of its own green energy on-site. This is a boon for the environment and your wallet.
Deltec released a successful line of NZE homes in 2016 and this new addition to their “Renew Collection” is quite lovely. Like many older and traditionally styled rural homes, it has a front porch (128 square feet), pitched roof, white wooden siding and straightforward but attractive appearance. It’s two stories and 2029 square feet. It has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.
Compared to a standard country farmhouse, the inside has been spruced up quite a bit. It has an inviting and modern open floor plan that joins the spaces of the living room, dining room and fully equipped kitchen. Check out a 360-degree tour of the first level here.
The open-styled living area and high (10-foot ceilings) give the home a spacious feel and promote air circulation. The home also provides ample storage space, which anyone living in an older home knows is a modern amenity.
Of course, one of the main advantages of this home (in addition to its charm) is its energy efficiency. Like the other homes in the Renew Collection, it features passive solar design concepts. Mother Earth News explained that “passive solar design begins with the simple idea that you can build a house that uses natural heating, cooling, ventilation and daylighting.” Inhabitat said each solar farmhouse will “stay naturally cool in summer and achieve the maximum insulation and solar heat gain possible in winter.” The home achieves this through the use of a secure, airtight building envelope, solar shading and high-performance insulation. Deltec also helps its buyers to customize their home to make it as energy efficient as possible for their climate. For example, other features include an energy wall for homes in the south and a double stud wall for those in the north. The homes’ energy-efficient structure allows them to fully function with only a photovoltaic solar array, which enables the owners to be self-sufficient and off the grid.
Deltec is a family-owned B-Corporation that was founded in 1968 by Robert Kinser. The name changed from Deltec Technologies to Deltec Homes in 1985. The company originally built round homes strictly for resorts but has now evolved into an 85 percent residential business. As well as building NZE homes, they specialize in round hurricane-resistant homes. Their website shares that their mission is to “create innovative, high-performance round homes and net-zero energy homes with passion, excellence and respect for the natural world.”
Outdoor Fun shared that these solar farm houses can be built on concrete or on a flexible Webtec™ floor system, which “will enable you to build on pilings, a crawlspace or a full basement.” Other options include a back porch, solar hot water, solar awnings, metal roof, garage, carport, windows designed for your climate and pre-stained siding.
While a shell of the home can be purchased for about $62,000, a finished one will run from $275,000 up to about $400,000, not including land purchase or site work. Deltec also offers three levels of finishing for buyers to choose from (good, better and best) that will effect what they end up paying. Deltec estimates the homes’ annual energy savings at $1,197.
Besides the fact that solar is renewable, cheap and eco-friendly, it is also easy to maintain. Go Green explained that,
Once you have installed the solar power system, it can last 20 to 30 years without major maintenance needed. You may need to do a system check once a year, just to make sure everything is performing as it should.
While the houses Deltec makes are quite beautiful, in my opinion, the visual appearance of solar arrays has been a deterrent for some homebuilders and buyers. Luckily, in his typical renegade problem-solving fashion, Elon Musk and his company Tesla have released a line of solar roofing tiles that hides the solar cells in four attractive designs—“Tuscan Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Textured Glass Tile and Smooth Glass Tile.” The tiles are made out of “durable, long lasting tempered-glass” and as you can see below, are quite well-designed. Tesla says that when you calculate energy savings, this roof is cheaper than a traditional roof in the long term.
And, if you’d like to see another example of a lovely green farmhouse, check out this NZE solar farmhouse in Maine. Other recent solar innovations include solar vehicles (including bikes, cars, trains and planes), solar glitter and solar roads.