A Net Zero (aka Zero Energy) integrates a high performance envelope (the superstructure) and with a HERS rating of around fifty (50) which makes it 50% more efficient (same as higher performance, less costly to operate) than a home built to minimum code standards. Then outfit the 50 HERS rated home with a solar photovoltaic electric energy production system currently at a cost of around $5/watt (and dropping), include a large capacity solar hot water system and a net meter (provided by the public utility) for measuring the electric energy in excess of what the home uses that is being supplied back to (and credited by) the utlity and.....voila!!.....no utility bill in the most comfortable and quiet home a person will ever have the pleasure of being in.
What an interesting and educational journey it has been to follow and document a home being built utilizing advanced building science standards and simple quality control measures combined with modern heating, lighting and air conditioning components at very little additional cost to the builder. The result is a very high quality (comparitively speaking) safe, quiet, attractive and economical dwelling that all but pays for itself with government incentives (rebates & credits), ZERO utility bills and a high return on investment at resale.
The BIG BONUS on these zero energy homes is the very small carbon footprint and the payback to our environment in the form of reduced emissions......GREATLY REDUCED POWER PRODUCTION EMISSIONS. If it were not for having an internal combustion engine automobile in the garage used to go back and forth to work and the grocery, the carbon footprint on these homes would indeed be ZERO. From this we begin to see the significance of the new emphasis on traditional/walkable urban development linked by efficient (read as usable by you and me) mass transit systems. For every NET ZERO home completed, we are reducing by 25,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year. This is a significant achievement all by itself and is aside from the greatly improved indoor air quality and general quaility of life within these dwellings.
The ROI comes back to us all in terms of sustainability and if you have not taken the time to look up and do your homework on what sustainability is you should take the time to do that NOW if you care anything at all about this vessel you are floating through space on and those generations of people who will come behind you.
Tom Twitchell was not thinking just of himself when he made the decision to build his NET ZERO home. We are all in this together.
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An excellent sample of advanced framing technique incorporating some angularity where every space is filled, sealed and insulated. We tracked along and watched advanced framing techniques transform a three dimensional space....
It's what is "behind the skin" with these homes that really makes the difference....
Signing up with utility as a power producer
Special thanks to Todd Louis and Tiffany Thomas of Tommy Williams LLC.
If you would like to see all the blog posts related to this project in one location go HERE.