Campbell Creek Homes

TVA put energy efficiency measures to the test in three real homes.

  • TVA joined forces with ORNL and EPRI to experiment with energy efficiency by building three homes in the Knoxville area.
  • The first home, or Builder Home, was a typical house built to code.
  • The second, or Retrofit Home, was a typical home retrofitted with energy efficiency measures any homeowner could use.
  • The High Performance Home was built from the ground up for maximum energy efficiency.

The Project

TVA joined forces with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to see just how energy smart a home could be. They built a trio of homes in the Campbell Creek neighborhood in Knoxville, Tenn.:

  • The first home was built to the International Energy Conservation code. This typical house was designated the Builder Home, and served as the control for the project.
  • The second home, also built as a typical home, was retrofitted with energy efficiency technologies that any existing homeowner could add. This home, called the Retrofit Home, was projected to use two-thirds of the energy of a typical new home built to code.
  • The third home was built using the latest construction technologies to make it as efficient as possible and still provide excellent curb appeal. It employed photovoltaic panels and solar water heating to help make it a near-zero energy house. This house, called the High Performance Home, was projected to use one-third the energy of the Builder House.

The High Performance Home Featured:

  • Advanced airtight construction with structural insulating sheathing
  • Triple-pane windows
  • Two-ton SEER 16 heat pump with high-efficiency indoor fan motor and variable speed compressor
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Solar photovoltaic system on roof and drain-back solar water heating system
  • All fluorescent lighting, Energy Star appliances
  • Heat recovery from gray water, dryer vent, dishwasher
  • Roof sheathing: Louisiana Pacific
  • Wall sheathing: Dow
  • Energy Star appliances and heat pump water heater: General Electric
  • Foam insulation: BioBased
  • Fiberglass spider and batt insulation: Johns Manville
  • Solar water heating system: Sustainable Future
  • Super-insulating windows: Serious Materials
  • Two-ton Amana heat pump: Associated Equipment Company
  • Energy recovery ventilator: Fantech
  • Photovoltaic installation labor: Big Frog Mountain

photo of David Dinse

The Results

Over the five-year study, the Retrofit Home used 40 percent less energy than the Builder Home, and the High Performance Home used 66 percent less.

The annual cost for the Builder Home was $1,868; the Retrofit Home was $1,189 (a savings of 36 percent), and the High Performance Home was $320 (less than $1.00 a day), which includes a buyback credit from TVA Green Power Providers.

Find out more about the Campbell Creek project. (PDF)

Take the Next Step

Want to save money at your home? Learn how, and maybe even get rebates on your own energy efficiency upgrades, with TVA's EnergyRight for Home program.

Campbell Creek Project Dashboard


Want to see how the three homes in the Campbell Creek experiment compare head-to-head? Now you can, with our easy-to-used interactive dashboard. 

See the Dashboard