net zero

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Building a Low-Cost Zero-Energy Home

Follow these guidelines to keep costs as low as possible

Posted on Oct 6 2017 by Martin Holladay
prime

Let’s say that your goal is to build a simple net-zero-energy home for your family. You insist that the home be energy-efficient, and you plan to include a photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) array that is large enough to balance your annual energy needs.

Your main stumbling block is that your budget is very tight. Is your goal attainable?

Perhaps. Many builders have managed to complete a net-zero home that costs only a little bit more than a conventional house. If you want to take a similar approach, consider the following principles.


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Image Credits:

  1. Fine Homebuilding

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To Net Zero and Beyond

Where are we, really, with zero-energy homes in the U.S. and Canada?

Posted on Aug 15 2017 by Anonymous

By SHILPA SANKARAN

Last month, we at the Net-Zero Energy Coalition (NZEC) published our second annual inventory of zero energy (ZE) residential buildings in the U.S. and Canada, titled “To Zero and Beyond: 2016 Residential Zero Energy Buildings Study.”

Prior to our first inventory report, existing data on residential zero energy was spotty. We believed it was crucial for us to quantify the current state and track progress in order to truly understand the reality of the zero energy movement.


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Image Credits:

  1. Joe Wolf / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Flickr

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R-Value Advice from Building Science Corporation

Are the recommendations from a paper published in 2010 still valid?

Posted on Jun 30 2017 by Martin Holladay
prime

To reduce energy use, green builders often install above-code levels of insulation. Thick insulation is expensive, however, so it’s sometimes hard to know how much insulation is optimal.

To help guide builders wrestling with R-valueMeasure of resistance to heat flow; the higher the R-value, the lower the heat loss. The inverse of U-factor. questions, I wrote an article in May 2016 (“How Much Insulation Is Too Much?”) reporting on R-value recommendations from three energy experts: David White, Marc Rosenbaum, and Rachel Wagner.


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson

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Revisiting Net Zero Energy

Is the net-zero bar too high or too low?

Posted on Apr 28 2017 by Martin Holladay
prime

An 6-kW photovoltaic(PV) Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow. (PVPhotovoltaics. Generation of electricity directly from sunlight. A photovoltaic (PV) cell has no moving parts; electrons are energized by sunlight and result in current flow.) system can be installed for about $18,000 in many U.S. locations. With a 30% federal tax credit, the system costs the homeowner only $12,600 — or even less if utility or state rebates are available.

This 6-kW system will produce about 8,000 kWh per year in Boston (worth about $1,600) or 10,300 kWh per year in Phoenix (worth about $1,230). That’s a lot of electricity.


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Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay

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Zero-Energy Construction is ‘Set to Explode’

Ann Edminster’s keynote address at the Better Buildings By Design conference

Posted on Feb 24 2017 by Martin Holladay
prime

California regulators have established an ambitious policy goal: Beginning in 2020, all new homes in the state must be designed for net-zero-energy operation. (GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com has published at least four news stories on California's net-zero target: here, here, here, and here.)


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Image Credits:

  1. Ann Edminster

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Best Path to Net-Zero Energy

An owner-builder looks for the most cost-effective way to build a net-zero house in Washington State

Posted on Dec 5 2016 by Scott Gibson

Joshua Greisen thinks he's found an ideal building lot in Yakima, Washington, a city in the south-central part of the state in Climate Zone 5B. Now, can he find a design for a zero-net-energy house to go with it?

Working with a limited budget, but on a south-facing lot ideal for passive solar gain, Greisen is looking for a cost-effective way of reaching his goal. "I'm by no means a rich man," he writes in a Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, "and can only afford to do what has a return on investment that will be realized within a decade or so."


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Image Credits:

  1. Illustration: Joshua Greisen

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Major U.S. Builder Tests Net-Zero Market

Pulte, the third biggest home builder in the country, joins a California demonstration project

Posted on Apr 7 2016 by Scott Gibson

One of the country’s biggest residential developers is dipping its toes into the high-performance housing market with a prototype net-zero-energy house in California.


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Image Credits:

  1. PulteGroup Inc.

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California Leads the Nation in Net-Zero Projects

A tally of net-zero-energy buildings in the U.S. and Canada gives Sacramento the highest city total

Posted on Jan 18 2016 by Scott Gibson

A coalition of net-zero energyProducing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines. advocates has completed the first-ever count of net-zero and near net-zero projects in the U.S. and Canada, reporting a total of 6,177 residential units in 3,330 buildings.


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Image Credits:

  1. Net-Zero Energy Coalition

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One Man’s Quest for Energy Independence — Part 4

A last push to add more insulation on exterior walls and in the attic

Posted on Dec 31 2015 by Paul Kuenn

This is the fourth and last in a series of blogs by Paul Kuenn describing energy-efficiency improvements to his home in Appleton, Wisconsin. To read the first blog in the series, click here.


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Paul Kuenn

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One Man’s Quest for Energy Independence — Part 3

Adding more solar hot water capacity makes it possible to say goodbye to the utility gas line

Posted on Dec 22 2015 by Paul Kuenn

This is the third in a series of blogs by Paul Kuenn describing energy-efficiency improvements to his home in Appleton, Wisconsin. To read the first blog in the series, click here.


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Paul Kuenn

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