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Zero Energy

Zero Energy

*Only Available at Select Communities


A grid-connected Zero Energy Home is designed with the potential to produce as much clean energy as the home consumes in a year.*
A Zero Energy Home is designed with the potential to produce as much clean energy as it consumes in a year, which also zeroes its energy-related carbon impact on the environment.* The De Young Zero Energy Home supports the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan.

What is a Zero Energy Home?

Hear From Zero Energy Homeowners

Meet the Davis family! Watch the video to learn why the Davis family is loving life in their new De Young Zero Energy home! They’re enjoying the smart home technology, the energy-efficient features, and the comfort level in their new De Young home. They’re also excited about the difference they’re making!

Meet the Freeman Family! Watch the video to learn why the Freeman family is loving life in their new De Young Zero Energy home! Not only are they enjoying the smart technology, the energy-efficient windows and the comfort level in their new home, but they’re also ecstatic about the energy SAVINGS!

Zero Energy Features

Each De Young Zero Energy SmartHome is built with upgraded building science and technology from the ground up, equipped with some of the smartest and most energy efficient technology on the market! Expect easy, comfortable living with the potential for significantly reduced energy bills, among many other benefits.

How Does It Work?

Let’s take a look at our progress towards achieving an affordable Zero Energy home design.

In 2009, De Young unveiled EnergySmart™, an advanced suite of sustainable, energy-efficient products and practices. Since then, EnergySmart features have been included in every De Young home, serving as the essential foundation in our pursuit of Zero Energy home design. Once energy consumption has been significantly reduced, adding solar is the final component in the design of a Zero Energy home.

So, in 2011, De Young took another major step towards Zero Energy by building the Central Valley’s first Zero Electric home; a home designed with the potential to produce as much clean electricity as it consumes in a year.

Here’s how the concept works… When the sun is shining, the home’s solar system will produce electricity for the home and send any excess back into the grid. The amount of excess sent back is based upon the homeowner’s energy use practices and how much solar production there is each day. Once the sun sets, the home will then draw electricity back from the grid to meet its needs. Over the course of a year, these homes are designed to give back as much electricity as they take from the grid, bringing the balance to zero.

In 2013, De Young expanded energy efficiency and solar even further to address all energy usage, both electricity and natural gas, to build the Central Valley’s first Zero Energy Home. Over the next four years, De Young refined its Zero Energy design, and, in 2017 built the Central Valley’s second Zero Energy Home.

With this achievement, we were finally ready in the fall of 2017 to expand Zero Energy to an entire community with De Young EnVision, the first Zero Energy community in Central California, followed by The Highlands by De Young; and De Young RidgeView, its third and largest ZE community.

What is a Zero Energy Community?

A Zero Energy community is a collection of homes, each designed with the potential to produce as much clean energy as it consume in a year.* De Young currently offers Zero Energy homes in multiple communities – visit the De Young Welcome Center today to learn more about our innovative new Zero Energy communities!


Maximizes energy bill savings
Improves indoor comfort & health
Reduces carbon footprint
Promotes energy independence
Inspires others to do the same

Frequently Asked Questions

The Good Life Meets the Green Life

Meeting tomorrow’s energy-saving standard, today.

As the world, nation and California become more energy conscious, so have homeowners. The state of California leads environmental stewardship in the country, with some of the highest standards for emissions and energy efficiency in an effort to maximize energy savings and reduce each individual’s carbon footprint on the planet — the amount of carbon dioxide or carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels. To ensure results, the state has created the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan and creates statewide goals for clean energy and environmental stewardship. In this way, California residents begin to contribute to a future with better air quality and resource conservation, which ultimately extends beyond the state and affects our nation – and our world – as a whole.

As a committed steward of the environment, De Young Properties has decided to meet this future standard now, building a new type of home with the goal of reducing our energy-related greenhouse emissions, achieving maximum energy savings for the homeowner, and creating a model for future developments to follow as society progresses. This is De Young Zero Energy.

De Young Properties’ commitment to the future of clean energy puts us at the forefront of what tomorrow’s communities will look like. This is where a passion for advanced building science and a commitment to eco-friendly innovation collide. As a call to action, our Zero Energy initiative signifies what we can do for our energy future and the impact it will have on every generation to come.

1. What is a Zero Energy community?

A Zero Energy community is a collection of grid-connected homes, each designed with the potential to produce as much clean energy as they consume in a year. In 2017, De Young EnVision was not only Central California’s first Zero Energy home community, but also at the time, the largest to be built in the entire state of California. Today, De Young Properties continues to unveil additional Zero Energy home communities in pursuit of a greener future.

The Zero Energy home: Science makes it possible. De Young makes it real.

2. What does it mean for a home to be labeled Zero Energy?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for a home to be labeled Zero Energy it must be exceptionally energy-efficient and also be designed to have the potential to produce as much clean energy as it consumes in a year, using a rooftop solar system or any other source of clean, renewable energy generation. For the De Young Zero Energy home, each floorplan is designed as a computer energy model that allows our building scientists to optimize home consumption with solar production. The first step is to reduce energy consumption as much as possible through advanced scientific analysis and the utilization of De Young EnergySmart™ features. The next step is to factor in a right-sized solar system designed with the potential to produce enough energy to bring net annual energy consumption to zero. This is the scientific process built into every Zero Energy home. Once a Zero Energy home is built, energy use choices by the homeowner and external factors, such as weather, will impact results.

Consumption – Production = Zero

Think of it as a simple math equation, where a solar system’s energy production is subtracted from a home’s energy consumption and the result equals zero. Both consumption and production work together for a home and homeowner to achieve Zero Energy. The more efficiently-managed the consumption is, the lower the required solar production is to achieve the goal of Zero Energy.

A Zero Energy home is designed by following an energy model, which is established and guided by sophisticated, Department of Energy (DOE) and industry-accepted methodology and energy simulation software, to predict a home’s annual energy consumption and calculate how much solar must be installed to produce an equivalent amount of clean energy. Certain factors which cannot be controlled post-installation, such as weather patterns, may affect production potential.

Computer energy models are based on a great number of variables, and many assumptions must be made about each variable since homeowner energy behaviors can vary widely. Although Zero Energy homes are designed to have the potential to zero their energy consumption over the course of a year, each homeowner is the key to a home ultimately achieving Zero Energy once they move in.

A home’s energy consumption – and its ability to reach its full zero-energy potential – depends upon the individual homeowner’s energy use choices.

3. What is a De Young SmartHome, and what do De Young EnergySmart™ and ControlSmart mean?

De Young SmartHome is the brand of home designs built by De Young Properties. These homes include features branded as De Young EnergySmart™ and ControlSmart, and you will find both in De Young Zero Energy homes.

De Young EnergySmart™ features improve energy efficiency, comfort, indoor air quality and water conservation, along with many other benefits.
ControlSmart features utilize cutting-edge home automation technology to improve safety, convenience, and make life at home more fun!
De Young SmartHome technology is synonymous with state-of-the-art design and responsible environmental stewardship.

4. What are some of the De Young EnergySmart™ and ControlSmart features included with each Zero Energy home?

Like every De Young SmartHome, the Zero Energy homes will come with a bevy of De Young EnergySmart™ and ControlSmart features designed in concert to optimize affordability with overall efficiency, comfort, security and control of each home.

Features can include:
2×6 Advanced Framed Walls
Dual pane argon gas-filled windows with triple-layer solar control
Ample formaldehyde-free insulation with airtight construction for a superior thermal envelope
SmartThings smart home system
And more!

De Young EnergySmart™ and ControlSmart will be expanded even further with features such as:
Heat pump water heaters that harvest energy by extracting heat from the ambient air around the unit – you are literally pulling energy out of thin air!
De Young’s signature Performance Sealed Attic to extend the thermal boundary to the perimeter of the home
An easy-to-use energy monitoring app for your smartphone or tablet to keep track of your home performance in real-time
And more!

To complete the Zero Energy design, each home will come with right-sized solar systems for each floorplan, designed to have the potential to produce as much clean energy as the home is estimated to consume in a year.

See a De Young New Home Specialist for a complete list of features.

5. How many occupants are factored into the energy consumption estimates for each floorplan?

The energy consumption estimates calculated for each floorplan are based on a specific number of occupants that might be living in the home. Generally, two occupants are accounted for the master bedroom and one for each additional secondary bedroom. For example, if a home has 4 bedrooms, estimates assume 5 occupants will live there.

6. Does the Zero Energy design take into account natural gas consumption?

Yes. Although these Zero Energy homes will be mostly powered by electricity, there will still be some gas appliances in the home. Therefore, each solar system will be designed to have the potential to overproduce electricity, such that the surplus is equivalent to the amount of “source” (meaning the power plant) energy in the natural gas estimated to be consumed by each home. Ultimately, any excess electricity each Zero Energy home produces is fed back into PG&E’s grid to be used by other nearby homes or commercial buildings, and the homeowner will be compensated by the utility company for this excess generation.

7. Will electric vehicle charging be factored into the energy consumption estimates for each floorplan?

No. Our estimates focus only on energy required to operate the home.

8. What other assumptions are made when calculating energy consumption for each floorplan and how much energy is each floorplan estimated to use?

Since every homeowner uses energy quite differently, there are many assumptions that must be made when computing a home’s energy consumption. To learn more about these assumptions and energy use estimates, see a De Young New Home Specialist.

9. Will Zero Energy homes still receive an energy bill?

Yes, the Zero Energy homes will be connected to PG&E’s electricity and natural gas grids, so normal utility connection rates and fees will apply. Homeowners will also receive a monthly solar lease bill, which reflects the lower cost of solar energy compared to utility energy. Since these homes use much less energy than other new and existing homes, the combined solar and utility bills are likely to be very low. A Zero Energy home’s energy bills will depend upon each individual homeowner’s energy use choices, along with other variables like utility rates and the weather. As such, homeowner energy bills will vary from one home to another due to differences in floorplans, energy use choices, energy production, and other variables that affect energy use and production.

Solar power: the bright idea with every Zero Energy home!

10. Will the solar system be leased or owned?

Solar system to generate clean, renewable, and affordable energy for the home. Multiple financing options will be available. See a De Young New Home Specialist for more details.

11. Is shading factored into annual solar electricity generation estimates?

No. The potential for shading from adjacent homes was analyzed and will be mitigated to ensure it is not a concern. However, it will be important for homeowners to keep trees trimmed if they grow near their solar arrays to maximize sunlight exposure, as shading will affect solar production.

12. Does the amount of electricity generated by a solar system decrease over time?

As with every solar system, the expected degradation of energy production is very minimal and occurs over more than 20 years. In addition, Tesla provides a money-back production guarantee for the solar systems with each home. This guarantee outlines exactly how much energy each system should produce during each year of the 20-year lease period, and shows the amount owed to a homeowner if there is any unexpected shortfall in production.

13. Since the solar system will lose some degree of effectiveness over time, does that mean energy bills will increase?

Not necessarily. Although solar system production may have minor fluctuations over time, utility rates are expected to continue rising. With the zero down lease through Tesla, your monthly solar lease payment is locked in at a predictable and affordable rate for 20 years.

Also, it is very important to keep in mind that homeowner energy use choices may drastically affect one’s energy bills. Therefore, each individual homeowner’s energy bills may vary.

14. Will home energy usage and solar production be monitored?

Yes. Our company believes in continual improvement, from our customer experience to interior design, and even home performance. By allowing us to monitor your home’s performance we will be able to learn from your experience to see how we can continue to improve Zero Energy home design going forward. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Also, with energy monitoring installed in each home, homeowners will be able to view their real-time home energy consumption and production through an easy-to-use smartphone app.

See a De Young New Home Specialist for more details.

De Young Zero Energy homes: Better for our environment, better for our community, better for you!

15. How De Young Zero Energy homes benefit society and the environment:

Meets statewide goals for clean energy and environmental stewardship
Contributes to a future with better air quality in the Central Valley and beyond
Reduces energy-related greenhouse gas emissions
Serves as a model for future developments to follow as society progresses

16. How De Young Zero Energy homes benefit the community:

Brings state and national attention to the Central Valley for providing an advanced energy efficient standard for homebuilding
Promotes environmental stewardship by raising awareness of the value of managing energy consumption

Sets new standards for energy efficient homebuilding and reduction of carbon footprint
Works in harmony with PG&E’s electricity and natural gas grid to ensure power reliability
Brings excitement to our community as a leader in energy efficient homebuilding!

17. How De Young Zero Energy homes benefit homeowners:

Maximizes energy savings
Reduces your energy bills through responsible energy consumption and production
Increases your indoor comfort with tight and well-insulated construction and duct sealing to reduce drafts and control moisture
Improves your indoor air quality and health with a filtered fresh air system
Promotes energy independence as your home is designed to have the potential to produce as much clean energy as it consumes in a year
Gives you added convenience, security and fun with De Young ControlSmart features!

We make it easy to go from home shopper to homeowner!

18. How can I purchase a De Young Zero Energy home?

De Young Zero Energy homes are offered in multiple De Young communities. Visit our new Leonard Welcome Center on Leonard and Dakota, south of Ashlan in Clovis today to speak with a New Home Specialist and start your journey to Zero Energy living!

19. Are Zero Energy home prices higher than new non-Zero Energy homes on the market?

While the homes available for purchase at De Young could be priced a bit higher than ordinary (non-Zero Energy) new homes, our homebuyers understand they are making an investment with benefits that more than outweigh any cost difference. These benefits, including dramatically lower energy costs, give Zero Energy homes unparalleled value that is enjoyed long after the purchase.

20. What will the De Young Zero Energy homes look like?

The De Young Zero Energy homes will look just like the current De Young Icon Series, and all of the Icon Series floorplans will be available to purchase as Zero Energy homes. Model homes are available at the De Young Leonard Welcome Center for those interested in visiting one of these homes.

21. What is in store for De Young Properties?

De Young EnVision was not a final step, but rather a first step. When De Young built our first Zero Energy home in 2013, we knew that this was the direction that held the most promise for us in years to come. We built our second Zero Energy home in 2017, and using the information from both of these homes we have created a model of Zero Energy homebuilding upon which to build our Zero Energy communities. De Young Envision, unveiled in the fall of 2017, was our first foray into a Zero Energy community, and the first of its kind in the Central Valley. We are passionate about continuing to advance building science, and the benefits that come along with it for our homebuyers, the community, and our environment, and this passion has put us at the forefront of energy-efficient homebuilding in the Central Valley. We look forward to building more Zero Energy communities and bringing a Zero Energy future a little closer, one home at a time.

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