John Wesley Miller has nearly completed a 10-year build-out of Armory Park del Sol - his solar-powered downtown subdivision.

He plans to cap it off with his most sustainable home yet - going beyond the "net-zero" concept in which a home produces as much electricity as it consumes to one that makes a profit on its photovoltaic electricity generation.

Miller has signed on with the publishers of Green Builder Magazine to build a "Vision House" - one of a series of demonstration homes across the country that showcase new products and techniques for building sustainably, said Sara Gutterman, CEO of Green Builder Media.

Gutterman said her firm easily chose Miller's construction company for a demonstration site because of Miller's pioneering work in green building.

She said it was also a chance to explore how to respond to a water-scarce environment and to showcase the Net-Zero Energy Building Standard developed by Tucson and Pima County, with assistance from the University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture and Tucson Water.

Miller's home will be the first test of that voluntary standard.

"This home will have all the latest-and-greatest green amenities," said Miller.

Miller has built two other "net-zero" homes at Armory Park del Sol.

Each of the subdivision's 90 homes has at least one solar energy component, and they are built to maximize energy efficiency through orientation and building materials.

Miller said he always expected it would take a decade to sell out his niche development, where homes front tree-lined walkways instead of the street.

He said he feels fortunate that it didn't take longer.

That decade included the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which rattled the nation's economy and its confidence. It also witnessed a real estate crash that triggered the worst sustained recession in 80 years.


According to Green Builder Magazine, "On average, homeowners at Armory Park del Sol pay only $300 per year to heat and cool their homes. Additionally, (the) homes use less than half the water of a standard Tucson home."


Green Builder Magazine also has Vision House projects in Los Angeles, Orlando, Fla., Aspen, Colo., and at Epcot Center in Florida.

Contact reporter Tom Beal at or 573-4158.