A Bosch Experience at Serenbe
Just South of Atlanta there is a vibrant community known as Serenbe. Last weekend, I found myself driving south on I-85 and arriving at Serenbe after a taking a
few turns down some country roads off the interstate. The drive coming up to the community is serene. Green fields line the roads approaching Serenbe, and the sign at the entrance is the only clue that you are approaching a community that features three restaurants, an inn, stables, art galleries, and local shops. This is the community that Bosch has chosen to partner with to show homeowners their geothermal and other sustainable home products. Serenbe does a great job of integrating nature, passion, creativity, and community into their development. In the same way, Bosch is showing homeowners how to combine green technologies to create an integrated solution for their homes.
When you pull into Serenbe, you will immediately be struck by the beauty of the landscape. Serenbe places a strong emphasis on integrating nature into the life and development of their community. The rolling hills, quiet woods, working farm, sustainability of the buildings, and abundance of walking trails are evidence of this. Throughout the day, I used the walking trails several times as either a shortcut through the woods to get to another set of local shops, or while going for a stroll after having the best fried chicken at their Farmhouse restaurant. While people have the option to drive or walk along the road to get to their destinations, Serenbe encourages walking and I took full advantage of this.
Passion and Creativity
The main street of Serenbe is peppered with small shops and art galleries. Passion and creativity come together easily in a mixture of art, food, culture, and sustainability. One place where this can easily be seen is the regular Saturday Farmer’s Market. Every Saturday people come together and have the opportunity to purchase everything from local produce and honey to handmade wooden pens and homemade jams. This was my first stop after arriving at Serenbe and taking in the drive and scenery. I tasted some local honey, spicy jam, and homemade cookies. I also saw a sampling of the art at Serenbe and the skill of their local craftsmen.
The Farmer’s Market not only shows Serenbe’s passion and creativity, but it also brings the community together: a theme at Serenbe. Local restaurants, shops, and theater events are popular with both visitors and residents of Serenbe and encourage social behavior. The community also features large trampolines at ground level with pits dug underneath to prevent injuries, which offer a safe but popular attraction for the kids and bring them together to play in the common areas. A sense of community can even be seen in the home designs. Many of the homes are specially designed to have smaller bedrooms and larger living areas, encouraging community in the home.
Bosch Net Zero Energy Home
In the same way that Serenbe integrates different components into their community development and lifestyle, Bosch has done an excellent job of giving homeowners the opportunity to see an integrated home solution through their Bosch Net Zero Energy Home. When I pulled up to the home and parked my car out front, the only clue I saw that this home generated the same amount of electricity that it used was a small sign out front letting me know that this was the Bosch Net Zero Energy Home. Besides that, the home looked like a nice, quaint white house with a spacious front porch and trendy lights hanging from the ceiling. After arriving, I walked up the front steps and was introduced to Ed Van Herik and Axel Lerche. Ed works with the Titan Agency for Bosch’s Public Relations and Axel manages the home. The Bosch home is a popular destination for residents and visitors to Serenbe, hosting 4,000 new visitors over the last eight weeks.
Bosch is a company with over 100 years of experience and has a wide variety of products in the marketplace. They place a strong emphasis on sustainable technology and are constantly looking for new opportunities in this field. Some of their energy efficient home products include energy efficient appliances, solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal heaters, tankless hot water heaters, and heat pump hot water heaters. In 2007, they purchased one of the largest geothermal manufacturers in the US, Florida Heat Pump, and entered the geothermal industry. Since the acquisition, they have shown they are serious about growing this division by offering more training to geothermal contractors and adding additional models to their geothermal product line. Because they offer a wide range of sustainable products, they have a solution that other geothermal manufacturers may have a hard time matching. Bosch is hoping to show homeowners that no one technology is right for everyone, but that
a homeowner should consider which products work best for their home and look at a more integrated solution.
According to Axel, many homeowners think that these highly efficient and renewable home technologies are complicated, don’t work very well, require a lot of maintenance, and are for the wealthy.
“This simply isn’t true,” he informed me.
One of their main purposes with the Bosch Net Zero Energy Home is to show homeowners that this technology is not overly complex or out of reach for the average homeowner. They hope that homeowners can see this home and realize that an integrated home energy solution is possible for their own homes.
For those geothermal nerds out there, here are some specifics on the home’s geothermal system:
- Numbers of loops: 5
- Loop design: Vertical closed loop
- Average loop depth: 250 feet
- Number of zones: 2
- System size: 3 ton heating and cooling
- Geothermal unit model: The Bosch CE series
- Thermostat: Honeywell programmable
In my opinion, Bosch is offering a great opportunity to give homeowners a chance to visit a working geothermal home. In addition to walking into a home and feeling the cool of the air conditioner, knowing full well that the ground underneath is working to rid the home of heat, homeowners can see what an integrated system looks like that incorporates geothermal, solar, heat pump water heating, and many other technologies. What better place to see this home than in the paradise of sustainable living? Later this year, the partnership between Bosch and Serenbe will be strengthened with the building of the Bosch Experience Center.
Bosch Experience Center
Construction is currently underway for a unique opportunity from Bosch to see working geothermal units, attend a cooking show from world class chefs, learn more about other renewable products, and drink a cup of coffee while you browse on a rented iPad. The Bosch Experience Center is being built down the road from the Bosch Net Zero Energy Home and will serve as a learning center for both homeowners and contractors. It is scheduled to open later this year.
Both Bosch and Serenbe show how integrating multiple components together can create an ideal solution. Serenbe integrates nature, passion, creativity, and community into their development, while Bosch integrates geothermal with their suite of home renewable and energy efficient products. To learn more about Bosch’s Energy Efficient Home products, visit their website here.