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C-TEC Superintendent Joyce Malainy welcomes guests to the ribbon-cutting of the school’s net-zero energy model home. (Photo: Sara C. Tobias/The Advocate)

C-TEC opens net-zero energy house

NEWARK – Imagine a home’s electric bill for a seven-month period was less than $200.

That’s a real possibility because of a house built by students at the Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County.

During the last three years, high school and adult education center students have worked on a net-zero energy model home on the center’s campus, located at 150 Price Road in Newark. The school opened the house Thursday.

Rick Orr, construction manager for C-TEC, said net-zero houses are more common on the West Coast, but building one in Ohio gives builders a different climate to experiment with the house.

“Net zero is popular on the west coast, but it’s coming this way,” he said. “We have to learn how to deal with it.”

A net-zero energy home is so energy efficient that renewable energy can offset most or even all of the home’s annual energy consumption.

Planning for the project started in 2011, and C-TEC had many partners and sponsors, including Owens Corning and M and A Architects, which is based in Columbus.

But C-TEC students were involved from the beginning, said Tina Hummel, Fundamentals Academic Career Tech Success coordinator for C-TEC.

Architecture and engineering students worked with the architect firm to design the house. Students from the building trades program built the house and installed the windows, doors and some drywall as well as the trim, cabinets and more. Students in the adult education center’s HVAC program installed ductwork. The wall colors, flooring and stone of the fireplace were selected by design students.

“Everything that you see was picked and chosen (by students),” Hummel said.

The house exclusively uses electricity, Orr said. The American Electric Power bill for a total of seven months was $188, which Orr said is amazing. Solar panels are on the roof of the house and the garage to provide electric. The house uses geothermal energy, which is heat from the earth, to heat and cool the house, Orr said.

Certain windows also were selected to help heat the house. The east, south and west sides have double pane windows to allow passive energy to come into the house. Orr said because the house doesn’t get much sun on the north side, triple pane windows were used.

Although the house is complete, it will still be used in C-TEC classrooms. Technology within the house is collecting data that will be used in the classrooms for students to run calculations.

“It’s not just touching the trades areas. It’s also touching the academic classrooms,” Hummel said.

To collect data on how much energy the house uses while people are actually living there, C-TEC is partnering with Weathervane Playhouse. Visiting actors will stay in the house during the summer. It will be a lab during the school year.

“The whole point of this house is it’s a living, learning lab so we’ll be able to do occupancy and be able to calculate how much is used when people are actually running the dishwasher all the time,” she said.

Orr said lot of trial and error has taken place with the house, and C-TEC will keep experimenting with it.

“It’s a learning curve, but it’s becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society to do sustainability,” he said.

mdevito@gannett.com

740-328-8513

Twitter: @MariaDeVito13

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These are the blueprints for C-TEC’s net-zero energy model home. (Photo: Sara C. Tobias/The Advocate)