In Colorado, the gap between demand for affordable housing and the availability of units is growing at an alarming rate. Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), the City of Boulder, Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC), and Habitat for Humanity of Colorado (HFH CO) commissioned VEIC to assess the feasibility of bringing Zero Energy Modular (ZEM) homes to Colorado. An emerging housing type, ZEM homes combine the benefits of zero energy homes with the cost efficiencies of modular construction. Currently unavailable in Colorado, ZEM homes have been installed in Massachusetts, Delaware, and Vermont over the last five years. Our study characterizes the potential ZEM market in Colorado and documents what would be required to launch a successful ZEM pilot program in the state.
All-electric and highly efficient, ZEMs are often outfitted with rooftop solar arrays and use about as much energy as they produce each year, resulting in low or no monthly energy bills for residents. Although ZEM homes cost more than those built to baseline code, when the incremental cost of the energy efficiency and renewable energy features are rolled into the fixed rate mortgage financing, and the utility offers net metering, homeowners are cash flow positive from day one.
Our financial modeling found that in locations across Colorado, rural and urban, ZEMs were consistently an affordable option.