Historic N. Fulton hall will be the oldest 'net-zero' home in the U.S.

Roswell will soon be home to the oldest net-zero home in the country.

What exactly is a net-zero home? These are super-efficient homes that produce as much clean energy as they consume, according to Energy.Gov.

A move that Roswell made at its city council meeting on Monday will turn the historic Mimosa Hall into a net-zero home. City leaders unanimously approved to retrofit the roof at the pre-Civil War era home with solar panels.

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The move will cost the city $135,000, but Roswell will save money in its electric bills and minimize other costs to the city in maintaining the property. The solar energy system is anticipated to generate all of the energy requirements for Mimosa Hall, saving the city approximately $5,100 annually.

Much of the cost will be covered through incentives, credits and fundraising. The previous council, led by mayor Jere Wood, had allocated $35,990 towards roof replacement.

In addition to the panels, a battery system will be installed to store excess power for cloudy days and nights.

The city bought Mimosa Hall and its nine-acre site last summer for $2.95 million. The land features 14 gardens, a reflecting pool, century-old trees, stone walls, paths and the 6,308 square-foot home. The city also spent $30,000 on the historic furniture at the home.

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When Roswell bought the hall it formed a nonprofit group, the Friends of Mimosa Hall, to advise the city on decisions regarding the historic home, to organize upkeep of it and to organize fundraising efforts. They are credited with drumming up support for the solar panels.

Roswell resident Janet Russell, who often attends city council meetings, said she thinks all of the city-owned buildings should feature solar panels.

“It’s the 21st century and we need to embrace that technology. It’s not bulky and ugly anymore. It’s really cool,” she said at the council meeting.

George Vail agreed with Russell and added that his home, built in 2005, is a net-zero home.

“Having the oldest net-zero home is a fantastic precedent for the city,” he said.

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