The community of Serenbe, a multi-use development outside Atlanta in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, was founded with sustainability in mind. Seventy percent of its 1,000 acres is preserved natural space, and many of its buildings use geothermal heating and water-conserving appliances. But one of its greenest homes might be one that was built specifically as a model to showcase energy-efficient technologies. (See related post: “Energy Efficiency on the Farm and Beyond“)

The Bosch Net Zero home, which is designed to accommodate a family of four with zero annual energy costs, opened to the public last summer and went on the market in September. The details:

Price: $499,000 (unfurnished)

Square footage: 1,650 (three bedrooms, 2.5 baths)

Anticipated energy bills: $0

Typical energy bill for a U.S. single-family home: $2,200

Amount of that typical bill used for heating costs: 29 percent

Estimated savings from the house’s geothermal heat pump: 70 percent

Number of solar panels on the house: 18

Amount of water used per flush with a standard low-flow toilet: 1.6 gallons

Amount used by the Net Zero house toilets: 1.28 gallons

Estimated water savings from the home’s washing machine: 5,040 gallons a year

Another Net Zero home at Serenbe, which was meant to be the original model, was sold before construction was finished. Serenbe is also the site of HGTV’s Green Home 2012, which was given away last year.

Do green features in a home make you more likely to buy? Post your thoughts on the Net Zero home at Serenbe in the comments.


  1. CAB
    March 26, 2014, 8:29 pm

    Energy efficient homes with no energy bills, is certainly everyone’s dream. But as it is with energy efficient cars, the initial cost is too high. It’s like paying in advance for the fuel.
    The same is true, with food, everyone wants to eat healthy and it is highly recommended by all ‘health officials”, but ever compare prices in the health food store , with those in the common supermarket ? Try feeding a family of 5 at the health food store.
    Energy efficient, saving gas, going GREEN, its all great , but too expensive most people. If the real goal is to better the environment and the quality of life for all , then first find a way to lower the costs so everyone can obtain it.

  2. nolan
    February 7, 2013, 12:11 pm

    The house is very fancy

  3. mark
    February 4, 2013, 4:44 pm

    This 1,650 square foot house cost $500,000? I hope a lot of that cost is for things other than energy efficiency, like the land, the most beautiful countertops you’ve never seen, etc. Because that cost per square foot is crazy and is simply going to cause people to say “going green is just too expensive”. Appropos of nothing, when does energy efficiency also include simply using less? I’m in a not particularly efficient circa 1980 house in southeast Texas and kept my total electric expense for 2012 below $600 simply by turning the a/c up to 80 every day, whether going to work or not. There’s something to be said for ceiling fans, ice water and dressing appropriately for the climate.

  4. Jim Jarvis
    February 2, 2013, 6:58 am

    At 499k, that house cost $302 per s.f. to build. $125/s.f. is more ‘normal’, although it varies with finish, and geographical market.

    It can be done in colder climates, as well, although it’s definitely more challenging in northern latitudes, with less sunlight.

  5. Helia Taheri
    Tehran - Iran
    February 1, 2013, 5:09 am

    I am the Student of the last year of Master in Architecture (in The Field of Energy and Sustainability) at The University of Tehran.
    I saw this page, I want to have more information about this building. I am interested in Energy Saving Projects.
    Best Regards,
    Helia Taheri

  6. Clifford Clark
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    January 29, 2013, 6:38 pm

    Atlanta is naturally pretty warm. I’ve been wondering how to do this where I live and how the numbers would stack up. Winnipeg is pretty cold, so it’s not clear whether part of the solution to heat loss is already built in to the house demonstrated above or whether more costly and dramatic measures (burying large parts of the house exterior?) would be necessary. It would also be interesting to know how much of the household energy the solar panels provide, whether an AC/DC converter is required to run standard appliances, and how well solar panels alone would do in more northerly locations. Is it possible to supplement solar with appropriately sized windmills? Are there existing windmill designs scaled for residential homes? And does the home shown rely on energy storage/batteries for demand when the sun is not shining? Was this part of the cost? Thanks for this – very intereting!

  7. Carol Adams
    January 29, 2013, 1:43 pm

    I would love to have a home as efficient as the one shown. As little impact on the environment as possible. Unfortunately, unless the National Lottery shares some money with me, I am totally unable to own a home of any type

  8. Sky
    January 29, 2013, 1:05 pm

    I think that green efforts are great and will help iur environment when adopted on a large scale. On a smaller scale, if you’re looking to save money, I don’t know that a net zero home is that kind of investment, but if you’re looking for a hedge against future financial uncertainties (admit it, if your house is net zero and you are at a point where it’s paid off, if you get laid off, it’s not going to be so worrisome, is it?) or if you’re looking to contribute to that large scale effort, I think it’s a great idea! I’d love to have a home like this.

  9. Andrew Brader
    January 29, 2013, 11:30 am

    Let’s start thinking economical and start saving…

  10. Andrea Brown
    January 28, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Great to see more homes going green !