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TerraWise taking net-zero energy homes mainstream – Daily Record

Focus on net-zero energy
Modern-look options and solar panels part of 200-home subdivision

David Shacter is president of TerraWise Homes, which will offer a net-zero energy option on the homes it builds at Cedarbrook, a new 200-unit Northside subdivision. Until now, the company has built net-zero homes on a custom basis, mostly in Springfield.

TerraWise taking net-zero energy homes mainstreamSlideshow

TerraWise’s model at Cedarbrook will be finished this spring.

Net-zero energy — a concept so Jetsons it typically pops up only a single house at a time – is planned for a portion of homes in a new 200-lot Northside subdivision.

TerraWise Homes, one of three builders in the soon-to-launch Cedarbrook neighborhood, will offer a net-zero energy option for every home it builds. Net-zero energy means a house produces as much energy as it uses.

“We’re trying to bring it down to the masses, where it’s not just in custom homes,” said TerraWise President David Shacter.

Cedarbrook, located on Cedar Point Road just east of Sheffield Regional Park, is being developed through a partnership of three local builders, Dostie Homes, D.S. Ware Homes and TerraWise.

Seventy-three lots will be available in the first phase, with TerraWise building 17 of them and Dostie and D.S. Ware splitting the balance.

The neighborhood is near Interstate 295, River City Marketplace and JaxPort, but across the river from the bulk of Jacksonville’s metropolis. An emerging residential area, it compares in character to Mandarin of 25 years ago.

In an economy where large projects have been dominated by national builders, it’s rare to see a development the size of Cedarbrook produced entirely by local companies.

Ownership gave the local builders the ability to introduce some outside-the-box options — including a modern architectural look and net-zero energy.

A modern, more minimalist look has been trending inside Jacksonville homes for a few years – with Colonial-style crown molding replaced by sleek modern cabinets, faucets, door hardware and lighting. But, Cedarbrook will be the only production-home community in Northeast Florida to offer a modern look on the outside, said Chris Dostie of Dostie Homes. That means cleaner lines and a mix of exterior materials.

Modern homes, said Shacter, are common in other parts of the country, like Denver, where nary a hip roof may be found.

“It’s not going to be a requirement (at Cedarbrook),” he said. “But, people will only buy what they’re offered. And if they’re not offered it, they don’t know to ask for it.”

The most striking innovation at Cedarbrook, though, will be its net-zero energy option.

Shacter, a veteran builder, two years ago launched TerraWise – a company that builds entirely in the net-zero energy niche. So far the company has built four net-zero energy homes, one at a time and mostly in Springfield. Three more custom homes are under construction.

Cedarbrook will be the first new-home community where TerraWise has built and the first production-style homes it has constructed.

TerraWise accomplishes net-zero energy consumption by combining energy-saving appliances and building techniques with energy-producing solar panels. Spray foam insulation, LED lighting and low-energy water heaters and HVAC systems are part of the package.

TerraWise buyers at Cedarbrook can buy a house with just the energy-saving features. Or they can add the solar-panel upgrade to achieve net-zero energy consumption.

The first option increases the cost of a home by about 5 percent. The solar panel option will add an average cost of $13,650.

The extra cost is folded into the mortgage, and Shacter said the higher monthly house payment is offset by lower electric bills. For just an energy-efficient home, the cost and savings are equal. For a home with solar panels added, the monthly savings are greater than the costs.

“You’re essentially moving the costs from your electric bill to your mortgage,” Shacter said.

Models at Cedarbrook will be finished in a month for Dostie and D.S. Ware, with TerraWise finishing its model in the spring. Floorplans at will range from 1,800 square feet to more than 3,000 square feet. Prices will start in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, topping out around $400,000.


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Read more of this article at the Jacksonville Daily Record.

Why would I want to have Net Metering?

Net Metering Basics

Why would I want to have Net Metering?

  • Net metering can lower a customer’s electricity bill by reducing the amount of electricity that the customer buys from the distribution company. Net metering allows customers to receive credits for any electricity that they generate but do not use. Some customers get involved in net metering because of an interest in the environment and renewable energy.

How do you build a Net Zero Energy home?

TerraWise Homes specializes in building energy efficient homes.  Adding energy efficiency to a home is a matter of using smart building techniques.  We can build a Net Zero Energy home by using the proper building materials as well as adding features that not only are low in energy consumption but also may add to our energy pool such as photovoltaic solar panels designed into the roofing and heat exchange water heaters.  There are many methods we use.  Here is a graphic to show some of these.

TerraWise Homes Energy Saving Features in the Net Zero Energy Home - The Springfield 2035.

TerraWise Homes Energy Saving Features in the Net Zero Energy Home – The Springfield 2035.

Will I Save Money with a TerraWise Home?

The simple answer is, YES!  You will save money every month with the energy savings you have in your home.  A comparable home built by any other builder not utilizing the construction methods and energy savings measures we use in our TerraWise Net Zero Energy Homes will have a greater monthly cost to the utility company.  The amount of money saved per month will depend on many factors, but it will be substantial over time.  Enjoy saving money with your TerraWise Net Zero Energy Home!

Cedarbrook, River City Marketplace, Oceanway, Jacksonville, Florida

Conveniently located on Jacksonville’s booming Northside near the River City Marketplace and Jacksonville International Airport, Cedarbrook is within walking distance of New Berlin Elementary School and William F. Sheffield Park. Cedarbrook brings the TerraWise unique Net-Zero energy savings homes to the Northside offering innovative designs, the latest floor plans and technological advantages along with unsurpassed new home value.

Cedarbrook is a master planned community that combines the convenience of great nearby schools and parks, excellent shopping and close proximity to downtown Jacksonville. The community is minutes away from I-295 offering convenient access to all employment areas of the First Coast.


TerraWise Homes new community Cedarbrook Phase II - Oceanway, Jacksonville, Florida.

Community Information

CedarBrook Quick Facts

  • TerraWise Homes from the High $100s
  • Located in Northeast Jacksonville within minutes of I-295
  • Conveniently located near the River City Marketplace and Jacksonville International Airport
  • Within walking distance of New Berlin Elementary School and William F. Sheffield Park

Nearby Recreation & Shopping

William F. Sheffield Park
3659 New Berlin Road, Jacksonville, FL 32226

Remaining TerraWise Homes Lots in Cedarbrook.
Click here to download a PDF of this siteplan.

Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park
13802 Pumpkin Hill Road, Jacksonville, FL 32226
River City Marketplace
3000 City Station Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32218
New Berlin Elementary School
3613 New Berlin Road, Jacksonville, FL 32226
Oceanway Middle School
143 Oceanway Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32218
First Coast High School
590 Duval Station Road Jacksonville, FL 32218

Or, narrow your Search by type:

1 Story, 2 Story

2 Bedroom, 3 Bedroom, 4 Bedroom

2 Bathroom, 2.5 Bathroom, 3 Bathroom

See our CedarBrook Standard Features for a better idea of the value offered by TerraWise Homes.

Historic Springfield homes generate own electricity, feed into JEA’s power grid by Jacksonville Times Union

Historic Springfield homes generate own electricity, feed into JEA’s power grid
By Tiffanie Reynolds
Tue, Feb 10, 2015 @ 7:18 pm

On North Liberty Street in the Springfield Historic District, looks can be deceiving.

Rows of tall, two-story houses line the road, complete with either stone front steps or a sweeping front porch, looking almost exactly like homes that have stood in the neighborhood for decades.


But, rows of solar panels tucked on the roof hint at something a little more modern inside.

Called Net Zero Energy homes, the Springfield houses are designed to provide a net electricity cost of zero by the end of the year. Along with other energy-efficient features, officials with builder TerraWise Homes say what makes these homes really stand out is an alternative energy source. The solar panels on the roof of the house are connected to JEA’s electric grid, and, through net metering, homes are given credit for any additional energy they are generating into the system. For example, if the home generates more energy than it uses during a month, that amount is translated as credit with JEA. That credit goes toward any electricity bills that exceed the amount of energy the home generated.

This give and take every month is designed to average out to zero at the end of the year, coining the name Net Zero Energy. Alternative energy sources can also be wind or hydro-electric.

David and Melody Shacter, head of TerraWise, started on these energy-effecient homes two years ago. Back then, that section of North Liberty Street had four empty lots and two abandoned homes. They bought the whole section, including the abandoned homes, and started from the ground up.

Working with the Historic Preservation Commission, the Shacters had to work with standards that require new homes to conform to the look and design of the older homes in the district, and the designs for each of the eight homes was approved by the commission before they were built. They also worked with the commission to preserve and renovate the older homes to energy sustainable standards.

“It’s very eclectic,” said David Shacter. “You have all levels of economic and social in Springfield, and we just felt that the same kind of buyer that would want to buy in Springfield is the same kind of buyer that would want a house that’s a little different.”

And Springfield hasn’t proven them wrong. Out of the six new houses TerraWise has built, all but two of them are sold. That doesn’t come as a surprise to Sara Boren, executive director of U.S. Green Building Council of North Florida. In the past few years, she has seen a bigger want for energy-efficient power sources, especially solar. The declining price of solar systems also helps, but the challenge is making alternative energy sources easier to pay for as a utility and recognized as an added value to the house. She says that TerraWise is a leader in helping homeowners combine the cost and installation of the solar panels with their mortgage, and USGBC of North Florida is also trying to pass a bill called PACE — Property Assessed Clean Energy — that would attach energy-efficient improvements to the property tax on the house or business. Options like these, she says, doesn’t tie the cost of energy to one person, and allows it to stay on-property even after the person who installed the improvements moves away.

“I think it’s coming. There’s a lot of players that want to do it, and it’s not rocket science,” said Boren.

On top of installing solar panels to these homes, other energy efficient improvements include:

■ Completely insulating outside walls and inside the roof to keep running air in, lowering the cost of heating and cooling.

■ Installing energy-efficient windows and more windows in the house to bring in more natural light, limiting the need for electricity.

■ Purchasing energy-efficient appliances.

■ Installing LED lights.

■ Landscaping with native plants, reducing the need to run outside irrigation.

Read more on this article here…