Contractor John Wesley Miller has finished building what he calls a "net zero" energy home, built from recycled materials and appliances. While he says that the features of the home are the latest and greatest in new technology, it is the physical materials of the house – blocks and cement – that really make it a smart investment. Because, Miller says, the reason why houses lose heat in the winter or cool air in the summer has not changed in the forty years he has been constructing residential and commercial properties. The laws of thermodynamics have helped Miller in how he designs his spaces.
"Heat always travels toward cold," Miller told reporter's at the home's unveiling. Because of this, his newest model acts as what he calls thermal-mass storage.
This is done by filling in every void on the blocks that make up the house itself. This creates a space that acts as a giant mass to keep heat and cold in when it is needed during the various seasonal changes. Miller believes that for any home to be successfully energy efficient, you must focus your attention on controlling the solar energy. The light and heat that your harness from natural sources must stay within the house, or you risk spending more on your utility bills each month.
Miller is calling his latest project the "Vision House" as a showcase for recycled materials, and has partnered with Green Builder Media for its construction. All of the appliances within are energy efficient, and the heating and cooling system is powered solely by a line of photovoltaic panels.
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