Thursday, June 23, 2011

City of Frederick Press Release

New "Net Zero" Energy Home Opens in North Pointe Community City Invest in a Nexus Energy Home

Frederick, MD -- On Friday June 17th, The City of Frederick in partnership with The Housing Authority, Nexus Energy Homes and Maryland Clean Energy Center opened the first "net zero" energy home in the North Point Community located on North Bentz Street.

Mayor Randy McClement along with Kevin Lollar, Project Manager Frederick Housing Authority; Paul Zanecki, Nexus Energy Homes President, Kathy Magruder, Director of the Maryland Clean Energy Center, and Senator Ron Young, joined together today to celebrate the grand opening and tour of the North Pointe Nexus energy efficient home.

Mayor Randy McClement stated that, "energy conservation and efficiency at all levels in our community will help us build a stronger more sustainable City. That is something we all care about."

The City of Frederick Department of Economic Development coordinated the investment of a $70,000 repayable loan in the renewable energy components of the new "net zero energy home" using the funds provided by Maryland Clean Energy Center. Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development stated that he was pleased that his department was able to participate in the successful HOPE VI grant application nearly a decade ago and now with the construction of such a terrific project.

The City of Frederick has been a supporter of the North Pointe project from the onset of the Hope VI Project. The Hope VI Project is designed to redevelop blighted housing projects and resulted in contributing to the revitalization of the North End of Downtown Frederick. The City contributed land and over $4 million towards the Bernard Brown Community Center which is now the focal point for the "new north end" and houses organizations and companies like Moxie Café, CALM, NAACP and many others.

According to Paul Zanecki, CEO of NEXUS Energy Homes, "Nexus is very grateful to The City of Frederick for presenting us with the opportunity to not only fulfill, but expand on the goals for the new North End. With the construction of this renewable energy, carbon-neutral GeoSolar Community, we mutually exemplify the model that combining both public and private resources works for the greater benefit of all our citizens."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Green Home Development Opens in Frederick

55 zero-energy houses will inhabit area that once was location of 146 public housing units

by Tripp laino, Staff Writer

Dozens of Frederick residents and city officials attended the grand opening for Nexus Energy Homes new zero-energy housing on Friday. The North Pointe community is located at the intersection of Bentz and Lord Nickens Streets.

People searching for a way to save on utility bills won’t have to look far in Frederick, now that the first green home development is open for business.
Located along Bentz Street, the North Pointe development features 55 zero-energy homes built by Nexus Energy Homes. The houses were showcased Friday at a ceremony with dozens of residents, city and state officials present.

Kevin Lollar, the director of development for the Housing Authority of the city of Frederick, called the new home’s design, “the house of the future.”

This site, HOPE VI, is about vision,” he said. It’s about doing something different with housing. … If we don’t reduce our carbon footprint, our carbon footprint is going to reduce us.”

We want to change the paradigm of what a home is and the way it performs,” he said.

“…Anyone would want to live here. It’s a home that’s simply superior [to] anything else on the market.”

Four of the homes have been sold already. Barbara Dillon, who attended the grand opening, is one of the new owners, and said she currently lives in Montgomery County with her husband, Joseph. She said they were “empty nesters” looking to relocate, but didn’t have green energy in mind until discovering the development. “We never would have looked at a townhouse if not for the green energy,” she said. “…We didn’t even know it existed, and found it looking at the housing available.”

The homes have a myriad of environmentally friendly features, including resource conservation, such as power and water, and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.

Part of the funding for the homes came via a $70,000 grant from the Maryland Clean Energy Center. The program was one of 10 elected by the center to receive funding assistance supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Maryland Energy Administration.

The grant was called a "pass through" grant by Richard Griffin, Frederick's director of economic development, during a public meeting March 17. In effect, the city receives a $70,000 grant which it then gives to Nexus Energy for constructing the homes. After the homes are sold, the company repays the grant to the Maryland Clean Energy Center by setting aside a portion of each home sold, and the grant money is given to start another green project.

According to a press release announcing the grant, the homes have solar and geothermal power generation, smart operating systems and energy efficient materials to generate as much or more energy than the home consumes, creating a "net-zero" demand on local energy supplies. In the case of excess energy, the power is sold back to the utility company.

Paul Zanecki, president of Nexus Energy Homes, based in Stevensville, praised the efforts of the city in bringing grant money to the group, and said the new homes would change the way people thought about green energy homes.

The geothermal system uses a closed loop that passes a refrigerant into the ground, where the temperature is a constant 57 degrees. It is then brought through the system into the house, where it is used to raise or lower the room temperature.
Green homes cost more to build, but the price of the Nexus homes are on par with average home prices in Frederick city according to Zanecki. A flyer distributed at the grand opening listed the home’s starting price at $230,000 after tax credits and energy savings. Zanecki said the homes are within five to seven percent of their traditionally built counterparts, but that some of that cost can be made up by tax credits.

Monday, June 20, 2011

City of Frederick Welcomes First Green Neighborhood

updated 6/17/2011 7:45:42 PM ET 2011-06-17T23:45:42

FREDERICK, MD - Barbara Dillon will soon be a Frederick resident and moving into the home she's been waiting for with a money saving bonus.

"We were looking around downtown because we wanted a downtown lifestyle and saw the energy efficient, the net zero aspect of it and got in touch with our realtor," explained Dillon who is currently a Montgomery County resident.

Dillon's home will be part of a brand new "green neighborhood," the first of it's kind to come to the City of Frederick.

"We take advantage of geothermal heating and cooling, we have total recovery ventilation to equalize pressure and to also take care of the humidity levels of the home and keep those at a perfect level," said Mike Murphy, the president of construction for Nexus EnergyHomes, "We have HEPA filtration."

The neighborhood is part of the Hope VI project on North Bentz Street and it's energy tax credits have already attracted eager buyers.

Despite what many people say is a poor economy, four of the 55 lots have already sold.

"You have a direct 30% tax credit of the builders cost of the geothermal systems, that depending on the home here will be between $13,000 and $17,000 that the home-buyer gets back after purchase," explained Mike Muren of Mackintosh Realtors, "We're doing some custom single family and some of those home buyers are receiving as much as $30,000 to $35,000."

Tax credits or not, many people in Frederick see the homes as a gateway to the future.

"Not only are we saving the environment, but we are also putting ourselves in the leading role to get off oil," explained Mike Sare, a Frederick resident.

The green neighborhood ranks among the top 50 homes in the country for it's energy efficiency.

The model home is now open on 620 North Bentz Street in downtown Frederick. Read more at

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Net-Zero Energy House Seen as Model for the Future

By Ed Waters Jr.

Photo by Bill Green

The model home of the new "net-zero" project that are part of the Hope VI program North Pointe off North Bentz Street.

A net-zero community in Frederick should be a model for the nation, said several speakers on Friday at the opening of North Pointe in Downtown Frederick.
Part of the Hope VI program, North Pointe off North Bentz Street will contain 55 dwellings, all designed to use little if any energy.

"It is all about vision," said Kevin Lollar, director of development for the Housing Authority of Frederick.

Lollar said state Sen. Ron Young had brought Paul Zanecki, CEO of Nexus EnergyHomes, to the Housing Authority Office to talk about a potential net-zero community in the city. Young said he had initially envisioned the project at the east end of the city, where development is planned.

"That wasn't ready," Young said of the area around the relatively new section of South East Street. Young said he would still like to see that area become self-sustaining when built up.

But the area off North Bentz Street, which formerly housed low-income housing, was seen as the perfect site for the new community.

Elected officials, builders and interested buyers toured the model house at 620 N. Bentz St. The 2,750-square-foot house has insulation and a structure that make the building quiet, efficient and well-constructed. Although listed for nearly $278,000, the house would sell for $264,900 with energy tax credits and incentives. Four buyers have already put down deposits on future houses.

The house uses solar panels that blend into the roof, geothermal heating and cooling, and a high-tech system that allows control of climate and security using an iPhone or laptop.

Zanecki said the air in the house is exchanged every 48 minutes to keep it clean from pollutants and other potential effects on health.

Over the years, people have built net-zero energy homes, but they were "spaceship" houses, Zanecki said. "They were built for an individual. What I had the vision of was for homes affordable to the general consumer."

Financing was a major hurdle, Zanecki said. The project is funded primarily through investors, though at a brief ceremony Friday morning the project was presented a check for $70,000 from the Maryland Clean Energy Commission.

Donald Briggs, an appraiser and member of the county's Sustainability Committee, appraised the house. He said besides the durability of construction, he included the net savings in energy in adjusting the affordability of the house.

Zanecki said his company worked with the National Association of Home Builders, following the organization's green standards guidelines. The model house, as will all of the homes, will meet Emerald Standards for energy, the highest level of efficiency, based on the association's research center criteria.

"We are changing the dynamics of what a house is, and we can visualize the streetscape of the future," Zanecki said.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Osprey Pointe Homes Boast Futuristic Features

Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 5:48 AM CDT

Net Zero Concept Attracts Attention and Buyers

Homeowners at Osprey Pointe in Grasonville can manage energy usage from their family room television, place of business or their winter retreat in Florida, according to Mike Murphy, construction division president for Nexus EnergyHomes(NEH).
Nexus Vision, a patented interactive home control software with remote capabilities, is just one of the futuristic features in the project touted as both the nation's first carbon-neutral waterfront community and the East Coast's first geosolar community. Whatever you call it, county officials and citizens are excited about the new community designed to generate as much energy as it consumes, its ancillary technology and its possible impact to future new construction.

During an open-house at NEH's new headquarters in Stevensville on June 2, County Commissioner David Dunmyer presented the group with a commendation on behalf of the county, saying he is especially excited as an environmentalist.

NEH VP Mike Murren said, "Let's make Queen Anne's County proud," before turning the program over to Murphy.

Located at Pierson Road and Maryland Route 18 in Grasonville, Osprey Pointe is the vision of Queen Anne's County developer Jody Schulz of Shore Land Ventures, LLC in partnership with NEH.

Each of the 12 single-family homes and two duplexes starting at $745,000, will include all the high-end details expected of a luxury waterfront home such as granite counters, wood floors, 9-foot ceilings, crown molding, soaking tubs and more. Add geothermal heat pumps, photovoltaic solar panels, super insulated building shells, and environmentally conscious green building materials, and the result is a very comfortable and environmentally responsible lifestyle.

At the open house, Murphy unveiled the prototype for Nexus Vision a systems control software that allows the homeowner to view energy consumption by room, control temperature, alarms and even unlock the front door from anywhere.

"The system reads the home breaker by breaker, allowing you to view and adjust the way you are living," said Murphy, adding that the remote locking feature could be handy when homeowners are unavailable to assist a family member who had lost a key.

The system is the perfect accessory to the homes Murphy said are "built different."

He explained that traditional builders say a house should breathe. This might sound like a good idea, he said, but the result is a structure at nature's whim; hot in the summer, cold in the winter and subject to air pollution.

"The house has to be tight as possible … the system should create the breath," said Murphy.

He said a full-house HEPA-filtration system creates the breath in Nexus homes, producing clean air every 48 minutes.

Structural insulated panels (SIP), made of rigid Styrofoam sandwiched between boards, provide twice the insulation of a traditional foundation. Foam that expands by 700 percent, is installed at the rafters and stops energy loss in the attic. These materials create a home that is tighter, cleaner, quieter and stronger than traditional construction by an average of about 50 percent, said Murphy.

Once the home is air-tight, geothermal heat pumps move the earth's temperature through a well and into the home.

"It takes energy to constantly alter the temperature by creating cold and hot air. With geothermal technology, we're not producing (temperature), we're just moving it," said Murphy.

Solar panels to produce energy enough for systems come standard in the homes while extra panels to produce energy for accessories and entertainment systems are optional.

Murphy said they will work with buyers to calculate additional energy requirements if desired.

"The home itself is net zero. True net zero (consumption) is an option," said Murphy.

The same technology available at Osprey Pointe was recently applied to three homes in Centreville's Three Creeks, also a Shore Land Venture development.

Three Creeks was in its last phase with three lots unsold for quite some time, according to Schulz. Providing options for green technology has made all the difference in getting the final lots sold, he said.

Michael and Jeannie Whichard of Colorado, signed a contract for an NEH home at Three Creeks in early June.

Their $400,000, 2,700 square foot home on one acre will have all the green technology featured at Osprey Pointe minus the waterfront location, community dock and pool and possibly some of the higher-end details of the Osprey project.

"It has the new control system, geothermal heat and it's insulated like a big cooler," said Whichard, describing the SIP foundation and air-tight insulation.

The Whichards have opted for true net-zero energy consumption and hope to someday be completely off the grid. Because the system generates but does not store energy, they will need a battery or non-solar powered technology to operate after the sun goes down if they want to be off the grid independent of energy companies.

Michael Whichard is returning to a position with the Armed Forces News Command at Fort Meade and is currently living in Arlington, Va. He used every spare moment since moving from Colorado, to look for a commutable property with environmental aspects and land, for an affordable price he said.

"Finding land and convenience at a decent price is the hardest thing to do," said Whichard.

The Whichard's new home has a contemporary, open floor plan with no formal living room or dining room, just like they enjoyed in Colorado and were looking for in Maryland.

They are looking forward to living in Queen Anne's County, hopefully by this fall, said Michael Whichard.

For more information on the Osprey Pointe Development go to or for Nexus EnergyHomes, go to or contact realtor David Azar of Coldwell Banker Waterman Realty 443-618-2952.