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Close to home with Mary Beth Breckenridge

Energy-efficient homes in a kit

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: July 22, 2013

Call it the Sears house of sustainability.

Vermont manufacturer Vantem Panels is marketing SmartHomze, a line of kits for building net-zero-energy homes for about $150 a square foot, Fine Homebuilding contributor Scott Gibson reports. 

Each SmartHomze kits includes materials for building a highly energy-efficient house shell, including a solar-energy system, a mini-split heating and cooling unit and a ventilator that captures warmth from the indoor air before it's expelled outside.

Windows, doors and the materials for the roof and exterior walls are also included, but the customer has to supply the interior walls, appliances, cabinets, plumbing fixtures and the like -- plus the labor, of course.

Kits are available for houses ranging in size from 560 to 1,700 square feet. The houses are constructed with Vantem's structural insulated panels, which allows for a great deal of flexibility on the interior layout.

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