Bosch has partnered with Taurus Investment Holdings, a Boston-based real estate development company, to equip a new 7,500 home master-planned net zero community outside Austin, Texas, with geothermal heat pumps, hot water systems, and Energy Star appliances.
The new community, called Whisper Valley, will eventually include some 7,500 net zero ready single and multi-family homes and apartments, plus 2+ million square feet of retail and office space across 2,062 acres. All structures will be geothermal and solar equipped, capable of achieving the net zero energy, or carbon neutral, standard adopted by the city of Austin’s municipal building code for all new construction homes. The project is said to be one of the 10 biggest developments of its kind in the United States.
“Whisper Valley is a very significant project for Bosch in North America and we are delighted to partner with Taurus,” said Mike Mansuetti, president, Robert Bosch LLC. “It’s a perfect blueprint for new energy-smart communities with a keen focus on conserving resources. Families who live in the Whisper Valley community will save energy and have a reduced carbon footprint. The children who grow up in these homes will inherently help promote a more sustainable future. Bosch has long been committed to sustainability. With our portfolio of smart and efficient products and solutions, we fulfill our company imperative, ‘Invented for Life.’”
“The alliance with Bosch is essential to delivering affordable, reliable, and sustainable technologies to homeowners across the U.S.,” said Lorenz Reibling, chairman and founding partner of Taurus Investment Holdings LLC. “EcoSmart, in conjunction with Bosch, is providing a complete one-stop solution package to meet zero-energy standards. Homeowners will benefit from increased value for each home. The program is an insurance against rising energy costs.”
Bosch, along with other manufacturing partners BASF, Rehau, Lighting Science Group Corp., and Aten Solar, are part of Taurus’ EcoSmart Solution LP (ESS) subsidiary, which develops alternative energy structure programs in large-scale real estate projects. The ESS network includes technology, construction, communications, and finance companies, among others.
Bosch said the ESS solution is being applied to Whisper Valley to meet a growing demand by homebuyers who seek to lock in lower costs for energy by employing geothermal technology for heating and cooling their home together with solar energy generation. Combining geothermal with solar is one of the most effective ways to achieve a net zero energy home.
Whisper Valley homeowners will incur no upfront costs for the geothermal system, as the ground loop infrastructure is pre-installed throughout the community. Homeowners will receive an extended warranty and no maintenance costs for the first three years. Their energy costs will be fixed at approximately $175 a month, which covers the costs of the geothermal infrastructure equipment, a solar PV system, LED-lighting package, appliances, and other technologies, and includes maintenance service. With a combined geothermal-solar system, Bosch said many buildings can achieve zero net energy status, and a homeowner’s utility-supplied energy use will be minimal to none as they return excess solar-generated energy to the grid. The savings in utility electricity costs can be equal to or greater than the monthly ESS energy fee. The EcoSmart program delivers the value of energy efficient technologies without requiring upfront costs for the homeowner or builder.
The Bosch geothermal heat pumps installed at Whisper Valley will be connected from each home to an underground heat-exchange-loop infrastructure system, consisting of geothermal boreholes that utilize the constant temperatures several feet below the earth’s surface to provide heating and cooling. The homes will also use Bosch heat pump water heaters to supply whole house hot water, further leveraging the benefits of a geothermal solution. In addition, the community homes will also include an array of Energy Star-rated appliances from Bosch.