Built to demonstrate affordable housing though energy efficiency, the Weber State Build Challenge team's net-positive home showcases energy efficiency technologies and universal design that performs comfortably throughout all four seasons in Ogden, Utah, with minimal tozero energy costs for the life of the home. The six-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,450 square-foot home maintains a traditional craftsman style with appeal for the mass market, while offering energy-efficient features such as insulated concrete form foundation walls; upper walls with structural insulated panels; efficient windows; air sealing; ample insulation; a high-efficiency minisplit heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system; battery backups; and solar power generation.

Design Philosophy

The Weber State home is situated in a diverse neighborhood in Ogden, Utah, featuring both historic architecture and new home developments. The home's design matches the community's historic aesthetic while providing modern amenities and energy technologies. Designed in a traditional craftsman bungalow style, the home features two-tone exterior trim, columns supporting a covered porch, and wood trim details.

The home provides 2,450 square feet of interior space while maintaining a fairly modest profile from the outside, allowing the two-story home to blend harmoniously with adjacent one-story homes while not appearing out of place on a smaller corner lot. This design decision was critical in making the home a usable size for the local demographics while maintaining the appropriate neighborhood scale.

Ogden and many surrounding communities are family-centric—according to the University of Utah, the area has the largest average household size in the nation. Many high-efficiency homes are small and only suitable for a couple without children or a new family with only one child, but the Weber State home is designed as a "mass market" home that provides universal appeal, rather than a niche product.

Market Strategy

The Weber State home's target market is families, and its design speaks to the needs of a family. For example, a washer and dryer are located upstairs, but there are additional hookups downstairs to accommodate a greater number of potential occupants in a six-bedroom home. There are two gathering places—the living room upstairs and the large family room downstairs. A private outdoor space allows adults and children to spend time protected from street traffic. Three bathrooms support a larger family. Multiple storage locations, including in the detached two-car garage, allow for a more comfortable home even if all rooms are occupied. A single family can live in the home through all stages of life, as the main floor is designed to allow for aging in place with minor alterations to access. The HVAC system can be completely turned off downstairs or in individual rooms that are not occupied or when occupancy decreases. This enhances the sustainability of the home and will help increase energy savings over the years.

A sales pitch for the Weber State home might sound as follows:

Do you enjoy basking in the morning sun while eating breakfast? Sitting on the porch during a summer sunset? This 6-bedroom, 2-bathroom home has all the comforts under one roof, not to mention affordability through energy efficiency! The Weber State home is an all-electric, net zero house. All the power you need is produced on-site—pay only the $9-per-month connection fee, and the 39-panel solar array generates enough electricity for the house, including your electric car charging station in the detached, 2-car garage. Highly efficient multizone HVAC systems, water heater, appliances, and windows add to the net zero design in addition to a tight building envelope and intentionally placed insulation that surpasses current building code standards. Power outage? No problem, with a 72-hour battery backup already connected to meet the electrical needs of your home. We've thoughtfully crafted the last home you'll ever purchase. Come discover why this home fits all your family's needs.


  • The home is designed to match the historic aesthetic of the community while offering mass-market universal appeal, as well as modern amenities and energy technologies.
  • A private outdoor space allows occupants to spend time protected from street traffic.
  • The home's main floor is designed to allow for aging in place with minor alterations to access, allowing a single family to live in the home through all stages of life.
  • The HVAC system allows for room-by-room control.


  • Foundation walls made using insulated concrete forms provide the strength and durability of a traditional home with added insulating R-value from foam.
  • The rooftop features a 39-panel solar array.
  • A 72-hour battery backup prevents the inconvenience associated with a power outage.