A Net Zero (aka Zero Energy) home starts with a high performance envelope (the superstructure) and a HERS rating of around fifty (50) putting it at being 50% more efficient (same as higher performance) than a home built to modern minimum code standards. Then outfit the Net Zero home with a solar photovoltaic electric energy production system, a large capacity solar hot water system and a net meter for measuring the electric energy in excess of what the home uses that is being supplied back to (and credited by) the local utlity and.....voila!!.....no utility bill in the most comfortable and quiet home a person will ever have the pleasure of being in.
In Episode #1 of this Net Zero series I introduced the Net Zero home Tom Twitchell is building in Longleaf Village with the assistance of builder Tommy Williams as the residential lot was just being prepared.
Now we get to see how things have progressed and I am going to do it graphically with a photo essay. Each of the photo's are active (clickable) links to a bigger high resolution image complete with additional information. Simply click on the photo of interest to view more detail and then the "BACK" button on your browser to return to your place in this blog post.
Power User TIP: You can also simply hit the BACKSPACE button on your computer keyboard to do the same thing as the BACK button on your browser.
From the ground up now.....
And starting at the ground level the "Advanced Framed" superstructure is carefully and permanently mated to the concrete foundation
The advantages of Advanced Framing Technique cannot be stressed enough from a number of different standpoints
1. It does not cost more for a builder to utilize Advanced Framing Technique it actually costs less
2. Less material required with greater use of smaller wood pieces that would otherwise be scrapped with at least equal structural integrity and more structural integrity in many instances
3. Much higher energy coefficients
WELCOME TO MODERN BUILDING SCIENCE....it's not more or more costly it's just better!!
As part of a tightly integrated system the roof design, engineering and sturdy (hurricance code) assembly is the backbone of a high performance home here in Gainesville Florida and in the case of a Net Zero home the roof becomes the mounting platform for a power generating plant.
Major name brand manufacturers such as Owens Corning™, Dow™ and Johns Manville™ are now producing to very high GREENGUARD certified standards at competitive pricing that disicriminating professionals are using to build out high performance and "in demand" homes here in Gainesville Florida at competitive consumer price points.
Supply is meeting Demand.
Taking a few minutes to check out the GREENGUARD Certification Program will provide yet more understanding as to why this paradigm shift in consumer demand for higher performance is happening.
We now want it because we can have it and what we want is a better way of living today and for our children tomorrow.
A major component of an energy efficient Net Zero home in our southern U.S. climate is a properly matched and balanced heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system. Tommy Williams designs HVAC systems specifically to an individual floor plan and then combines an innovative Fresh Air Return system with the HVAC for absolute climate control and best indoor air quality in these very tightly built and energy efficient homes.
Contrary to popular belief bigger (more tons of compressor output) is not better and a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) does not have anything to do with maximum number of TONS the AC compressor is rated at.
The air conditioning duct system is neatly designed to be within the air conditioned space inside of these new Net Zero homes. Voila!!
Another MAJOR component of these Net Zero homes that utilize advanced building science and framiing techniques is the utilization of state-of-the-art insulation systems. The Johns Manville™ Spider® custom insulation system utilizing advance refined fiberglass material meets these very high standards achieving insulation voids of zero percent and ratings as high as R-23.
For a look at the fascinating JM Spider® insulation installation process view the Youtube video below (it is a 6 minute video and you can hit pause anytime and continue to the end of this blog post).
And as we near completion of the actual buildout phases of a Net Zero home the inner skin (sheet rock) is put into place affectively covering much of the exquisite building science that goes in to a structure such as this.From here it will be fit, finish, paint and trim as flooring, lighting and appliances are installed.
STAY TUNED !!