eLab Accelerator 2014

Independence Heights Zero Energy Initiative

Project Objective

With NREL, develop a program plan to transform underserved, affordable neighborhoods into zero energy districts.

Project Team Members

Paul Campbell, Manager, Center for Building Excellence, BASF
Tanya Dubose, Director, Independence Heights Redevelopment Council
David Goswick, CEO, HOUZE, LinkedIn
Benjamin King, Environmental Innovations Manager, Bosch Siemens Home Appliances
Jason Scarbrough, Vice President of Risk Management, Choice! Energy Services, LinkedIn
Emily Van Court, Construction Science Architect, BASF, LinkedIn

Project Description

HOUZE® (the "ZE" stands for Zero Energy) Advanced Building Science Inc. is an innovative, technology commercialization company integrating disruptive technologies into real estate development and building. The company's mission is to empower the building industry with next generation building systems, materials and technologies to create affordable net-zero energy homes and buildings. HOUZE is partnering with the Mayor of the City of Houston, other city officials, and leading building materials and appliance manufacturers to revitalize the neighborhood of Independence Heights by building homes that cost less to own, operate and maintain.

Progress Made to Date (pre-Accelerator)

To date, in the Independence Heights “Zero Energy Zone” HOUZE has established a “Zero Energy Initiative” in partnership with the city and community; built 5 new net-positive energy homes, established a partnership to sell back electricity to the local retail electricity service provider, tested numerous advanced building technologies, and established a “zero energy curriculum” with the local schools. HOUZE and the Independence Heights initiative have attracted support and partnerships from many foundations and corporations committed to their revitalization goals.

Post-Accelerator Outcomes

At Accelerator, the team reviewed the achievements to-date of the Independence Heights Zero Energy Zone and assessed needs for expanding this initiative to reach more residents. The team also reviewed the state of the zero energy building marketplace to identify needs for scaling this business model to other communities. In the course of the Accelerator meeting, the team developed a multi-faceted plan to take this work forward, including design of a location selection process for determining where to locate future zero energy zone projects, and design of a stakeholder analysis process for identifying commercial and community partners to engage on projects. The team also agreed to launch an industry consortium that will serve as a hub for net zero energy zone activity. Finally, the team targeted an upcoming volunteer day in Independence Heights as an opportunity to partner with philanthropic foundations and to communicate the opportunities afforded by the HOUZE project in the community.