Did you know that Net-Zero homes generate the same energy they consume, through renewable sources like sun, wind, or water? When building a custom home, it’s important to remember that the cost of the home extends far beyond the build. Over time, paying for power and utilities can add up. It makes sense at the build stage to create the most efficient house possible. That’s where a Net-Zero Home comes in.
Your house is a series of systems: ventilation, heating, lighting, insulation, etc. These structures are complex and interconnected. Therefore, they require your careful planning and design decisions to minimize your overall need for energy. Two key areas have the largest impact on how hard your systems must work – passive design and your building envelope.
Passive design is a series of advanced building technologies, which achieve extreme energy efficiency. This approach to home design helps reduce the external forces your home has to resist, creating a comfortable interior with plenty of daylight.
Also consider the efficiency of your building envelope. Having an airtight barrier between inside and out – your roof, foundation, windows, and doors – results in less heat leaking in. Therefore, your HVAC doesn’t have to work as hard and your home consumes less energy.
To achieve a Net-Zero home, you must also create efficiencies in the energy you consume. Consider your heating and cooling systems, as well as your lighting and appliances.
With passive design and a good building envelope, your needs for heating, ventilation and cooling, otherwise known as HVAC, will be minimal. The payoff? Less costly ventilation systems that operate at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems.
Your home will already be bright and airy with passive design, but alternative lighting is still important. Appliances and electronics represent your remaining energy needs. Trade-off higher up-front costs for long-term efficiency and savings. This is a space where you can be creative and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Finally, to achieve true Net-Zero, create an on-site energy source. Solar panels, for example, can offset some or all of your energy use. A grid-tied system can help offset for cloudy days and night-time use.
Net-Zero homes don’t have to be connected to the grid – but that doesn’t mean they can’t be on the grid. In fact, there are tangible benefits to being connected:
Want to learn more about how Clarum can help you build the sustainable home of your dreams? Give us a call at 650.322.7069