Sonnen is proving that energy efficient communities aren't just for California, Arizona and Florida. The energy storage company has partnered with a leading builder and healthy home expert to bring a sustainable community to the outskirts of Chicago.
The company's intelligent ecoLinx energy automation technology will be a centerpiece in “Wildwood of Marengo,” a new energy-positive passive home community from Evolutionary Home Builders, Chicagoland’s premier sustainable home builder, and Brandon Weiss, a healthy home building expert and Passive House Institute United States (PHIUS) Passive House Certified Builder. The 28-home development will be a first-of-its-kind energy positive sonnenCommunity.
“Once again, sonnen has identified a partner in Evolutionary Home Builders who bucks the status quo and understands the importance and potential of being among the first to build a truly sustainable and future-proof residential community,” says Adam Weinstein, senior sales manager at sonnen, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Shell's New Energies division.
“This groundbreaking community development is taking root in the Chicago area where the homes must flourish on the merits of their design and affordability. Driving this tipping point for the next stage of passive home building is a key reason we are so appreciative of our relationship with Brandon Weiss.”
$700K Starting Price Points
The Wildwood of Marengo Development is the third U.S.-based sonnenCommunity project, with the other two being located in Florida and Arizona.
The community is comprised of 28 passive homes that follow a conservation-first approach. Each passive home features a 6kW solar array and a 20kWh sonnen ecoLinx energy automation system.
The homes will sit on 2.5- to 3-acre lots and range from 2,200- to 3,600-square feet. Prices will start around $700,000.
The design, certified by PHIUS in Chicago, maximizes energy gains, minimizes energy losses and performs at the highest level of building science.
By specifying the development to include sonnen ecoLinx energy automation systems, each residence uses smart home technology plus solar to produce, store and intelligently manage the home’s power throughout the day and night without sacrificing comfort.
The homes are capable of becoming independent of the grid during high-cost periods of the day, avoiding the use of high carbon intensive peak power and minimizing stress on the utility grid.
“With the adoption of renewable energy gaining traction, and exponentially growing, it's even more important to include intelligent energy storage in passive home design to eliminate negative impacts on the grid infrastructure and reduce the carbon emissions associated with utilizing peak power plants,” says Brandon Weiss.
“By partnering with sonnen, Evolutionary Home Builders is ensuring its customers and new Wildwood homeowners can rely upon the most innovative smart home, renewable technology solution and approach – one that represents the home of the future, and the concept of ‘clean energy for all’.”
Weiss says the ecoLinx is vital to the project.
“This is the future of energy. It is the most advanced battery system we have seen,” he says.
The 6kW solar array per home is not quite enough for them to be deemed “net zero” from an energy standpoint, which is one reason the entire community is being tied together to create enough energy to support each other, while also sending electricity back to the grid when possible. The ecoLinx system will be installed by Weiss, who is a certified installer of sonnen systems.
The Wildwood community also includes 120 acres of wildlife and forestry restored to its native state by Bluestem Ecological Services of Marengo, Ill. Evolutionary Home Builders will initiate the development of the community with a completed model home opening in Summer 2019.
Weiss has won numerous national awards, including the NAHB National Master Certified Green Professional of the Year, LEED Outstanding Project of The Year, Green Building Magazine Home of The Year Award, and several U.S. Department of Energy Housing Innovation Awards.