Aro Homes Debuts Fast-Track Net-Zero Home

A sustainable house built by Aro Homes

(Credit: Aro Homes)

by | Nov 9, 2023

Aro Homes, a residential housing company based in California, has unveiled the first of its new home designs that fast tracks the building process and helps meet sustainability goals.

The company teamed up with global design practice Olson Kundig to design the home, which leverages passive design approaches and a roof-mounted photovoltaic solar array that will produce more energy than the house uses each year. In addition, Aro Homes offers gray water reclamation and reuse, which can reduce water use by as much as 45% compared to a standard home.

The design of the project aims to reduce the overall carbon footprint of residential homes, which create 23% of global emissions, the housing company said. Plus, brand-new, code-compliant homes emit 10 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

At a time when the United States is facing a housing shortage, the amount of carbon emissions from new builds in the coming years is likely to be significant without sustainable design changes. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, more than 50 million tons of carbon emissions are emitted annually from new home construction in the United States. 

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Sustainable Features in Home Building

Aro Homes are engineered to use 67% less energy than the American Institute of Architects 2030 Challenge Baseline for energy performance, utilizing high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems. 

In addition, the company has touted its design process which significantly shortens the building timeframe down from 18-plus months for a traditional home to just 90 days for an Aro Home design. The company developed a hybrid off-site / on-site construction strategy that builds volumetric components of houses at its plant in Sacramento while also doing construction onsite at the same time.

The design of the home includes 3,000 square feet of living space, with four bedrooms and an office space. The home is situated to maximize sunlight for the solar power, which is enough to offset its initial embodied carbon within 16 years.

“By bringing a new multi-disciplinary approach to residential home design and construction, the Aro home has real potential to impact the American housing market,” Blair Payson, principal and owner at Olson Kundig, said in a statement. “This first Aro home is one of the most environmentally positive houses Olson Kundig has ever designed. It is also designed to outperform a majority of comparably sized homes by providing better than net zero energy performance and overall carbon neutrality – while maintaining a high level of design, craft, and material quality. Our hope is that Aro Homes maximizes its potential for positive influence and raises expectations for the quality, sustainability, and energy performance we can achieve across the housing spectrum.”

The first home was debuted for the Bay Area in California, with the intent for widespread adoption in other markets.

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