net zero

It’s Not About Space Heating

Posted on February 27,2015 by user-756436 in net zero

If you design a “pretty good house” with R-20 basement walls, R-31 above-grade walls, an R-49 ceiling, triple-glazed windows, a minisplit heat pump, and an HRV, what should you do next to reduce your energy bills? Maybe aim for the Passivhaus standard?

A Canadian Editor Questions Passivhaus Dogma

Posted on February 27,2015 by user-756436 in net zero

Today's brief blog — a departure from my usual practice of writing in-depth articles — was inspired by a recent editorial by Richard Kadulski, the editor of a Canadian newsletter called Solplan Review.

Government Test House Hits Net-Zero Target

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in net zero

An experimental house in Gaithersburg, Maryland, built by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) completed its first year of operation July 1 with a surplus of electricity. The house is equipped with a 10.2-kW photovoltaic (PV) array. According to the government agency, which completed the 2,700-square-foot house last year, the surplus amounted to 491 kWh of electricity, which a NIST news release said was enough to power an electric car for 1,440 miles.

New York State Promotes High-Performance Houses

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in incentive

Builders in New York State are now eligible for incentive grants of as much as $8,000 for building net-zero energy houses, according to an announcement by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

A Classic 1970s Home Goes from Solar-Heated to Net Zero Energy

Posted on February 27,2015 by ab3 in 1970s

Last week I was in Lexington, Kentucky speaking at the Midwest Residential Energy Conference. It was a great regional conference, and the folks there are making things happen. (I even played nice. With all those Kentucky Wildcat fans there, I held back and didn't mention in any of my talks that I'm a Florida Gator.) One of the many highlights for me was getting to visit Richard Levine’s 1970s active solar house. It stands out like no other house I've seen, and I've seen other solar houses.

New Englanders Love Heat Pumps

Posted on February 27,2015 by ab3 in air-source heat pump

Last week I went to NESEA's Building Energy conference, and I think I heard three terms more than any others: heat pump, net zero, and passive house. (The second most popular trio was beer, wine, and whisky, but that may have something to do with the folks I was hanging out with.) So let's get right to the important question here: Why do these people in the cold climate of New England love heat pumps so much?

Habitat’s New Net-Zero House in Minneapolis

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in Green Homes North

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity in Minneapolis has built its first net-zero energy project, a single-family house in the city's north end that was designed by architecture students at the University of Minnesota.

Practical Design Advice for Zero-Net-Energy Homes

Posted on February 27,2015 by user-1095434 in Daikin Altherma

First of all, thank you very much to all of you who contributed to this thread. I agree with all of you completely.☺ Remember, the reason Internet discussions are so acrimonious is because the stakes are so low…

Minisplit Heat Pumps and Zero-Net-Energy Homes

Posted on February 27,2015 by user-1095434 in air-source heat pump

For the last several years, just about every project I’ve worked on other than large university buildings has used minisplit heat pumps for heating and cooling. Why? 1 – There is no combustion and no need for a chimney or vent. 2 – In space conditioning applications, heat pumps can provide heating and cooling. 3 – The equipment installation costs and the operating costs compare favorably with other options. 4 – Heat pumps are a natural partner to solar electric systems to achieve zero-net-energy buildings.

Denver Builder Embraces ‘Challenge Home’ Standard

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in Challenge Home

A production builder working in Denver's sprawling Stapleton development is buying into the U.S. Department of Energy's Challenge Home standard in a big way. New Town Builders, which has sold more than 500 homes in Stapleton since it opened in 2001, has pledged to build each of the 250 to 300 homes it will construct there in the next decade to the high-performance, net-zero-ready standard.

What Does Net-Zero Energy Really Mean?

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in LBC

The International Living Future Institute — the nonprofit group that created the Living Building Challenge — has released documentation requirements for builders interested in meeting the Institute's definition of net-zero energy performance. According to the Institute, the requirements will make it all but impossible for builders or homeowners to overstate energy performance.

Energy-Saving Features of the Serenbe Community

Posted on February 27,2015 by AlexWilson in Community

In this blog last week I described some of the unique features of Serenbe, a New Urbanist community outside Atlanta, where I had the good fortune to be invited by the Bosch Experience Center as a speaker. I spent the better part of a day exploring the community. This week I’ll describe some of the energy features at the 1,000-acre development.

Habitat for Humanity’s Net-Zero Community

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in Eco village

An ambitious Habitat for Humanity project in River Falls, Wisconsin, is now in it second year of construction with three net-zero energy duplexes complete and another dozen housing units plus a community center still to come.

A Net-Zero Passivhaus Duplex in Portland

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in net zero

In Portland, Oregon, both units of a two-unit Passivhaus project sold before they were complete — one of them after being on the market for only two days and the second before it was ever listed with a real estate agent. The net-zero energy O2Haus is the work of PDX Living, a company that is co-owned by Rob Hawthorne and Bart Bergquist. An earlier duplex project in Portand, called TrekHaus, was described in a GBA post by Richard Defendorf early last year.

Net-Zero-Energy House in a Kit

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in house kits

A manufacturer of structural insulated panels (SIPs) in Brattleboro, Vermont, has launched a line of net-zero-energy kit houses that will allow owner/builders or developers to assemble a basic shell for about $150 per sq. ft. SmartHomze come in five sizes that range from 560 square feet to 1,700 square feet. Kits include materials for exterior walls, the roof, doors and windows, photovoltaic modules, heating and cooling equipment, and a heat-recovery ventilator. Buyers are responsible for construction, interior partitions, appliances, and finishes.

Is NIST Serious About Net-Zero-Energy Homes?

Posted on February 27,2015 by ab3 in HERS index

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) still handles a lot of our basic numbers work, keeping lasers, hunks of metal, and atomic clocks that determine our standards of length, mass, and time. But it turns out they also have an interest in net-zero-energy (NZE) homes. They’ve built and outfitted an amazing NZE research facility, and they also have convened meetings of experts to develop guidelines for NZE homes. But there’s something about their latest report I just don’t understand.

A Net-Zero Energy Apartment Complex Opens in San Diego

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in net zero

Florida has the first net-zero-energy bank in the country. Illinois will apparently get the first net-zero energy drug store later this year. And it looks like California has the first net-zero apartment complex in which residents can control their thermostats with a smart phone app. Solterra EcoLuxury Apartments, a 114-unit project in San Diego, welcomed its first residents in May.

Taking a 20-Year-Old Florida House to Net Zero

Posted on February 27,2015 by ab3 in HERS index

Steve Larson, a builder and home energy rater in Florida, sent me an e-mail with his energy bills for February through July of 2012. When you subtract out the monthly service charges, he paid only $5.35 for electricity during those six months. That's right — less than a dollar a month for electricty... and then $9.88 a month for the service charge.

Net-Zero Design Competition

Posted on February 27,2015 by ScottG in architecutral competition

This year's Architecture at Zero design competition will be for an affordable housing project in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. Entries will be for a building of up to 14 stories with 150 apartment units and a ground-floor grocery store that's "as close to zero net energy as possible."

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