A local design and architecture firm is building the Kansas City metro’s first net-zero home that will serve as a test lab for innovators aiming to create new smart home technologies.
Acre Designs is now wrapping up design plans of its “Axiom House,” a 1,650 square-foot, solar-powered home that eventually will serve as a test lab and temporary home for the company’s founders.
The home, which is slated to be built in Kansas City in the spring of 2016, will feature about 40 different types of sensors to gauge efficiency and use by occupants, Acre co-founder Andrew Dickson said. Sensors will track such information as temperature, humidity, lighting, occupancy and other metrics to offer Acre more insight to the design to improve the home’s function.
Co-founders and spouses Andrew and Jen Dickson plan to live in the home with their two daughters to tweak its design before they open the home up for rent to startups that want to tinker with its technology.
“We’re signing up to be our own lab rats,” Andrew Dickson said. “This is going to be a laboratory and we’re breaking new ground with it. … The purpose of the home is to test a few things we are trying and improve it before we go to the general populous.”
Based in Kansas City, Kan., Acre builds environmentally-conscious, net-zero homes with alternative materials and energy sources. In addition to an array of sensors, the four-bedroom, two-bath house will also feature ample natural light, a grass-paved driveway and a separate office building with a roof-top garden and deck.
Traditionally, net-zero homes cost upwards for $600,000, Dickson said. Acre’s 1,650 square-foot model costs about $200,000, he said.
The home will be built on a double lot at 4429 State Line Road, Kansas City, Mo., across the street from the company’s current office space. Construction of the home should be wrapped up in about two months, Dickson added.
Dickson said that Kansas City’s startup community has been particularly helpful in gaining early traction. Acre now is located in the Kansas City Startup Village and is currently in Digital Sandbox KC’s program to advance its business.
“We’re trying to disrupt a pretty old and stable industry,” Dickson said. “We want to be around other people that are trying to do that, too. We also want to tap into some of the tech talent and energy here.”