What kind of a new home would be fitting for a leading climate scientist who has dedicated his scientific career to proving the world can quickly transition off fossil fuel?
In alignment with his life’s work, when professor Mark Z. Jacobson decided to build his house in Stanford, he pursued an energy-efficient design that generates all its own energy from renewable sources.
Professor of civil & environmental engineering and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University, Jacobson may be best known for his work as a founder of The Solutions Project. The mission of the Solutions Project is to show, with scientific research, the plausibility of transitioning every state in America to 100 percent renewable energy. (Jacobson’s backers include Leonardo Decaprio and Mark Ruffalo.)
To make his vision for the net zero energy home a reality, Jacobson worked with luxury custom homebuilder BONE Structure®.
BONE Structure designed and assembled Jacobson’s newly completed home using an ultra-low energy thermal shell. It features solar panels coupled with Tesla Powerwall battery packs, which meet all the energy needs for the occupants–heating, cooling, plug loads, and transportation.
While Jacobson is all about the pursuit of a combustion-free life, there’s more to the sustainability story than the emission-free operation of the home, he says. It starts with the materials and the approach to design that uses fewer natural resources and creates less waste.
“I chose the BONE Structure technology because it offered prefabricated benefits (reduced waste on the job-site, decreased dust, and minimalized disruption to neighbors) while providing more flexibility for the shape of the house and making the most of my odd-shaped lot. The net energy efficiency, once the envelope is leak-proof, is due not only to the structure but also to energy sources and appliances. I have no gas going onto the property; instead, all energy comes from electricity. I will use electric cars, heat pumps for air and water heating, and an electric induction stove. The house will be powered by solar panels on the rooftop and energy will be stored using Tesla batteries in the garage.”
Since Jacobson moved into the home last summer, he has been continually monitoring the performance of his home. He’s found that not only does the home generate all its own electricity, it generates extra on some days. In fact, he has been able to sell 67% of the clean electricity his home generates back to the utility.
As Jacobson gathers more data from monitoring the operation of his home, he will compile a science-based case study. The case study should be of interest to everyone from researchers to policy makers. Above all, Homeowners and the design and construction industry can look to this carefully documented project as a model to help them achieve the sustainable future he Jacobson is promoting.