A partnership between polymer innovator REHAU and the parent company of EcoSmart Solution (ESS),Taurus Investment Holdings, has announced that a sustainable housing community called Whisper Valley has opened in East Austin, Texas. The project cost $2 billion to develop and includes 7,500 homes, making it the largest sustainable housing community in the country.
The homes are heated and cooled by a state-of-the-art geothermal loop field that takes advantage of the amenable temperatures of the earth under Austin. The energy is transferred via a water-based solution by REHAU’s Double U-Bend geothermal ground loop system, which is constructed of high-performance PEXa piping. The solution is then fed into a Bosch heat pump that converts it into warm or cool air, depending on the season. This system is expected to reduce the energy used by up to 65 percent for a typical homeowner.
Enough electricity is supplied by integrated photovoltaic solar panels to keep residents from requiring additional power through the grid. In addition, each home comes equipped with a suite of smart home products from Google Nest that utilize the 1GB Google Fiber Internet connection. A few of these smart home features are a “learning thermostat,” remote-camera surveillance system and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
The community is designed to meet the carbon-neutral standard accepted by the City of Austin for all new homes, and recognizing the upfront investment for sustainable housing as a barrier, the developers offer financing and accept green mortgages.
“REHAU is pleased to partner with Taurus and ESS on the Whisper Valley project,” said Michael Maher, business development manager of REHAU Construction, LLC. “We are inspired by their dedication to making affordable sustainability a reality for homeowners, and look forward to our continued strategic partnership as they make this program available to future residential communities across the country.”
“We collaborated with the most innovative companies in the world to design and implement Whisper Valley’s infrastructure upfront to create the most cutting-edge technology available in the market today,” said Douglas Gilliland, president of Taurus of Texas. “We did this to provide the most sustainable products and services to first- and second-time homeowners. The result is a new kind of community that features efficient and affordable new homes.”
“REHAU’s state-of-the-art piping is really the key component in the infrastructure in this first-of-its-kind geothermal loop field,” Gilliland added. “It connects all of the homes together, maximizing efficiency. We are so excited to be affiliated with the REHAU family and look forward to teaming up with them in the future.”
The community sits on 2,062 acres and features more than 700 acres of open space, trails, gardens and an organic farm. The homes are arranged in clustered villages that include single-family and multi-family dwellings, retail and commercial spaces, restaurants and neighborhood services. Whisper Valley is about 20 minutes from downtown Austin and homes range from $200,000 to $500,000.