Best Practices for Zero Net Energy Buildings

Posted on May 05,2015 by user-1095434 in net zero

This is a synopsis of a peer-reviewed article by Marc Rosenbaum, found in the Fall 2014 edition of BuildingEnergy magazine, and a preview of what's in store for students of Marc's BuildingEnergy Masters Series Course, Zero Net Energy Homes.

An Affordable Zero-Energy House in Massachusetts

Posted on May 05,2015 by DavidPosluszny in net-zero

Recently I designed and built my home in Shirley, Massachusetts. The design goal was to build a net-zero-energy house. However, it had to be comfortable to live in, easy to build with low-skilled labor, and very affordable. I had to keep it simple because I had my family for laborers, and they do not have construction skills. The home also had to be comfortable to live in, with adequate daylighting and easy circulation. The budget demanded that the house be kept small, but several design tricks involving lines of sight were used to make the space feel much larger than it actually is.

It’s Not About Space Heating

Posted on May 05,2015 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?

Net-Zero Energy on a Mass Scale

Posted on May 05,2015 by ScottG in deep energy retrofit

A project called Transition Zero is retrofitting 111,000 public housing units in the Netherlands for net-zero energy performance, with homeowners swapping their heating and power bills for loan payments that cover the cost of the work. In the end, it will cost these families no more to live in the newly refurbished, net-zero houses than it did when they were paying for heating, lights, and hot water. "The refurbishments are financed [by] the energy cost savings," says the project's website.

A Canadian Editor Questions Passivhaus Dogma

Posted on May 05,2015 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 May 05,2015 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 May 05,2015 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).

Honda Builds an Experimental House

Posted on May 05,2015 by ScottG in electric car

Honda's long list of consumer products already includes cars, outboard motors, portable generators, motorcycles, and lawnmowers — so why not houses?

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

Posted on May 05,2015 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.

Experimental House on Track for Net-Zero Operation

Posted on May 05,2015 by ScottG in net-zero

An experimental four-bedroom house 20 miles north of Washington, D.C., was a net-producer of electricity halfway through its first year of operation, producing a surplus of 328 kilowatt hours of power.

Habitat’s New Net-Zero House in Minneapolis

Posted on May 05,2015 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 May 05,2015 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 May 05,2015 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.

Habitat for Humanity’s Net-Zero Community

Posted on May 05,2015 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 May 05,2015 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 May 05,2015 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 May 05,2015 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 May 05,2015 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 May 05,2015 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 Gets a Boost in Canada

Posted on May 05,2015 by ScottG in building-integrated photovoltaic

A newly announced $4 million grant will subsidize the construction of at least 25 net-zero energy homes (NZEHs) in four Canadian provinces. The initiative is being funded by the Canadian government's ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII), homebuilders, and building materials manufacturers, including Owens Corning Canada.

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