Inside Vivint’s Automated ‘Zero Home’ with High-speed Wi-Fi
Vivint is offering 50 Mbps upstream/downstream wireless for $55/month in addition to security, home automation, solar power; Utah zero-energy home showcases the goods.
Vivint provides solar power, security, home automation and wireless broadband at Garbett Homes zero-energy house in Utah.
August 20, 2013 by Julie Jacobson

PRESS RELEASE: Zero Home FAQ with Garbett Homes/Vivint

What is Garbett Homes?
Garbett Homes has been building, marketing, and selling award-winning communities for over 30 years. Garbett Homes strives to offer the most up-to-date technology and innovative designs to make homes both comfortable and functional. The company is committed to green building practices and constantly looks for new ways to improve in every aspect of energy efficiency, sustainability, and environmental responsibility. Garbett Homes has built over 2,500 homes and apartments in more than 30 communities in the United States and Mexico. See www.garbetthomes.com.

Why are Vivint and Garbett Homes teaming up?
This partnership is aiming to create the first affordable net-zero climate 5 smart home in the United States. This self-sufficient, solar-powered home will be located in Herriman, Utah, and will generate as much power as it consumes, marking the next chapter in a history of building innovative homes. Although many states fall under Climate Zone 5, this collaboration between Garbett Homes and Vivint is the first project to ever realize net zero in this climate division. While net-zero climate 5 projects have been attempted in the past, the Zero Home is the first smart home design that is highly replicable, affordable, and scalable.

What is Climate Zone 5?
Entire Climate Zone 5 states include Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, and Rhode Island. Portions of various states also fall under this zone, including counties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington. The IECC climate zone map divides counties in the United States into eight temperature-oriented climate zones to specify the minimum level of energy efficiency; generally, the higher the climate zone number, the more insulation is required.

What does “net zero” actually mean?
Net-zero homes are designed to minimize energy use through energy efficiency and meet remaining energy needs with installed renewable energy systems; this target has been difficult to achieve in the Salt Lake area’s cold, dry climate, which according to the U.S. Department of Energy Building America Program corresponds to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) climate zone 5. Garbett Homes will seek to achieve a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating of zero with the home, which is means the home is completely self-sufficient. Administered by the Residential Energy Services Network, the HERS Index is the industry standard for measuring a home’s energy efficiency.

How will the home reach net zero energy?
By implementing a solar energy system with Vivint Solar panels. The home will also be equipped with a Vivint home automation system that incorporates the latest proprietary technology from the Vivint Innovation Center, including a new touchscreen panel that features energy analytics and Vivint Wireless Internet. Some of the technology features highlighted in the home will not be immediately available to the public, but will showcase the foundation for future net-zero communities built through the Vivint and Garbett Homes partnership.

What are some other features of the home?
Starting at $350,000, net-zero homes are an affordable way for the average consumer to choose an energy-efficient lifestyle. Based on the price per square foot, the Zero Home is in line with other homes in the neighborhood. This single-family home that will feature five bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms and a four-car garage. To allow homeowners to enjoy purified air inside the air-tight home, the house will feature a HEPA air filtration system - the same filtration used in surgical operating rooms. The home also includes Garbett Homes’ energy-saving features, including spray foam and blown-in insulation, low-E windows, compact fluorescent lighting, geothermal heating and cooling, solar water heating, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow faucets.

What technology is Vivint providing?
Vivint will add to the consumer experience by installing a new prototype of its real-time energy analytics technology, which will decrease the energy expenditure for homeowners by allowing them to monitor and adjust their home’s energy usage. The Vivint Solar energy system is also crucial to obtaining a HERS zero rating. The energy it produces reduces the rating on the home from approximately a 28 to a 5. The home will also contain all of Vivint home automation features.

HOME SECURITY
The Zero Home features a wireless residential security system from Vivint. The system includes an LCD touchscreen panel, a variety of sensors and detectors to protect the home’s entry points, and 24x7x365 monitoring. Thanks to Vivint’s remote access capabilities, homeowners can arm and disarm their system right from their smartphones.

HOME AUTOMATION
Vivint technology will connect all the technologies in the Zero Home: lights, locks, energy management, HVAC, and more. All systems are monitored 24x7x365 by professionals and can be managed from anywhere via a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

REMOTE ACCESS
Every home automation and security product in the Zero Home can be controlled with Vivint’s mobile app. Good for any iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry device, this app can be used to arm the home’s security system, adjust the temperature, control the lights, and much more.

SOLAR ENERGY
The Vivint Solar energy system decreases the Zero Home’s HERS rating from approximately a 28 to a 5. On average, these arrays save homeowners 20% on their energy bills with a minimum amount of materials and reduced waste. The array also uses the newest microinverter technology to provide maximum production for the home—even in less than optimal weather conditions.

WIRELESS INTERNET
Vivint Wireless Internet uses the newest technology to give users 50 Mbps (upload and download speeds) and eliminate the 7 p.m. Netflix slowdown. For half the cost of cable and a much better customer experience, the Zero Home will feature internet that’s 100% reliable and four times faster than other high-speed providers—even at peak hours.

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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