Zero Energy Capable ‘Homes of the Future’ Featured in Eco-Conscious Austin Community
Sustainable, high tech living is now attainable at Whisper Valley, a 2,063-acre, environmentally friendly community in East Austin, located just 7 minutes from Tesla’s big Gigafactory. Zero energy capable homes by Pacesetter Homes, GFO Home, Buffington Homes, AHA Dream Homes and Thurman Homes range in price from the Upper $200s to $500s.
Whisper Valley is unlike any other sustainable community in the nation thanks to the EcoSmart Solution, the green energy service provider for all of the homeowners in the community. Homes in Whisper Valley are powered by an innovative geothermal infrastructure using the earth’s natural energy to heat and cool every home. By using a ground source heat pump in lieu of the traditional HVAC, Solar PV panels, smart home technology and energy-saving home appliances, this EcoSmart program can reduce energy usage to zero based upon individual energy behavior. This helps homeowners save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their average utility bills per year.
“Everyone wants to save on monthly energy bills and live in environmentally sustainable homes,” said Douglas Gilliland, President of Taurus of Texas, developer of Whisper Valley. “The EcoSmart program helps builders achieve extremely low Home Energy Ratings, or HERS ratings, which translates into big annual savings. The lower the rating, the more energy efficient your home is. Today, most new construction homes receive a HERS rating of around 60-65 out of 100, but in Whisper Valley, our HERS ratings are targeting 25 or lower – and some homes have been rated as low as 7. Homebuyers are surprised to find this technology so affordable when shopping for a new home.”
Austin summers can be brutal, but Whisper Valley homeowners stay cool thanks to EcoSmart’s innovative technology and monitoring systems. Geothermal exchange loops in combination with ground-source heat pumps located within every home provide a highly efficient, renewable energy technology that “pumps” thermal energy from the earth to Whisper Valley homes in the winter and reverses the flow in the summer.
“For a long time, I thought that kind of technology was unattainable to people like me who are in the entry-level home market,” said Michael Wilt, a Whisper Valley homeowner. “It’s refreshing that you have builders and developers who were willing to try new things. It not only saves on monthly bills, but really pays off in the long-term value of your house.”
Homes in Whisper Valley also include other energy-efficiency and smart home technologies, including the Google Nest family of products that are designed to optimize energy use according to each homeowner’s schedule. The Works with Nest program serves as the portal to smart homes and can integrate more than 10,000 products. Homes also feature high-efficiency appliances, designed to minimize energy demand. Every home also offers high-speed Google Fiber Internet service and pre-wiring for garage-mounted Electric Vehicle chargers.
All new homes in the Whisper Highlands neighborhood also include Sense Energy Monitoring, a new energy monitoring program and app that enables homeowners to track their energy behavior and take control over how they allocate their energy usage. Homeowners also can add an optional upgrade to safeguard their homes in the event of a grid failure or outage with the Sonnen home battery. The storage battery pairs with the solar PV in Whisper Valley homes, and the local grid to store excess energy and optimize its use, including powering homes at night and providing resiliency to power outages.
Even more enticing, Whisper Valley homeowners are currently eligible for tax incentives on their home’s solar PV system and the geothermal exchange equipment on their property. The current federal tax incentive allows homeowners to write off 26 percent of the value of both systems, which translates into thousands of dollars in immediate savings and makes the investment even more affordable.
Environmentally-sensitive living goes beyond the home in Whisper Valley. The community showcases 700 acres of greenspace, parks and amenities including a Community Center with a resort pool, fitness center, show kitchen and activity room, a dog park, neighborhood parks, trails, organic gardens and a planned 600-acre public park. A community lifestyle director plans outdoor fitness classes, an annual 5k run, healthy cooking classes and fun events for residents year-round.
On-site organic gardens are managed by the community farmer with the help of community volunteers. Future plans for Whisper Valley include walkable restaurants, retail, garden office, two planned school sites, a planned transportation hub, a fire station and more.
To learn more about Whisper Valley’s zero-energy-capable homes of the future call 512-710-3799 or visit The Discovery Center at 9400 Petrichor Blvd. or www.whispervalleyaustin.com. The community is located off SH 130 at FM 973 and Braker Lane in East Austin.