Published: Thursday, July 7, 2011 9:48 AM CDT
STEVENSVILLE 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 on 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 state 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 that start 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 and 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," Murphy said, 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 described as being "built different."
Traditional builders say a house should breathe, Murphy said. While this might sound like a good idea, the result is a structure at nature's whim [-] hot in the summer, cold in the winter and subject to air pollution, he said.
"The house has to be tight as possible … the system should create the breath," Murphy said.
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, Murphy said.
Once the home is air-tight, geothermal heat pumps move the earth's temperature through a well and into the home.
Solar panels that produce enough energy for the 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," Murphy said.
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.
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, or 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 at an affordable price, he said.
"Finding land and convenience at a decent price is the hardest thing to do," Whichard said.
For more information on the Osprey Pointe Development or Nexus EnergyHomes, go to www.nexusenergyhomes.com or contact realtor David Azar of Coldwell Banker Waterman Realty 443-618-295