California city to get green prefab housing

The city of Stockton is about to get homes made by Zeta Communities that promise better indoor air quality and up to $2,000 in annual energy savings.

Artist's rendering of completed Tierra del Sol home. Zeta Communities

Zeta Communities broke ground yesterday on a net-zero housing development in Stockton, Calif., the company announced.

The housing community, which will consist of 22 units, is being developed by the nonprofit group Visionary Home Builders of California.

Zeta Communities is known for its affordable, green prefab homes that are constructed using sustainable or recyclable materials at its factory in Sacramento, Calif. Building 90 percent of a home in the factory will cut construction time by 70 percent, according to Zeta.

Tierra del Sol home in progress at Zeta's Sacramento, Calif., factory. Zeta Communities

In the case of the so-called Tierra del Sol community planned for Stockton, the Zeta prefab homes will be 1,268 square feet (1,500 square feet including garage) and consist of an open-plan living space, three bedrooms, and two full bathrooms. The Energy Star-certified homes have also been approved by the CALGreen building code standards. The Zeta homes will also be net-zero homes, meaning each home will produce as much electricity as it consumes.

Green amenities for the homes include photovoltaic solar panels that provide on-site power generation, Energy Star appliances, hybrid heat pump water heaters, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and CFL lighting. The materials used to build the houses include recyclable and sustainable finishes, as well as non-toxic paints, according to Zeta.

When compared to a comparable non-green house, the Zeta house promises a potential $2,000 reduction in annual energy costs, as well as better indoor air quality.

Tech Culture
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In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet,, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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