How First-Time Homeowners Can Create a Sustainable Home

How First-Time Homeowners Can Create a Sustainable Home

As more alarming studies surrounding climate change come out, scientists are recommending that people take real action to prevent the disasters of global warming. A great way for individuals to start is by rethinking eco-friendly housing practices. First-time homeowners should take this into consideration when making their move.

There are a variety of ways first-time homeowners can create a more sustainable home for the future and by using these tips, you can prepare your home with environmental sustainability in mind.

Utilize High-Performance Windows

Energy efficient windows provide a variety of benefits for new homeowners. Once the windows are installed, homeowners can see increased savings on their heating and cooling bills. High-performance windows not only boost the natural sunlight coming into your home, but they also reduce the need for lights until nighttime. Ultimately, this is a great way to save money on electricity as well. These windows can decrease the amount of weather-related noise such as rain, wind, snow or hail.

If you want to improve the overall comfort within your home, these windows also have the benefit of helping to prevent any unwanted drafts or gusts of wind. Even the new technology built into these windows can help prevent condensation build up, which saves the need to wipe down your windows, and over time, reduces the likelihood of mold and mildew. If you need assistance installing these eco-friendly windows, consider hiring a professional to help. That is the simplest way to get concrete results.

Invest in Eco-Friendly Appliances

Another step you can take to become more eco-friendly is to invest in energy-efficient appliances. Regular home appliances use loads of energy, contributing to the creation of excessive greenhouse gases. Eco-friendly appliances are essential for homeowners who want to be more environmentally conscious but with as little disruption as possible to their day to day routine. New homeowners can also save money by installing these types of appliances since the more energy efficient  an appliance is, the lower the utility bill.

When moving into a new home, it’s critical to invest in appliances that not only limit greenhouse emissions but also conserve water. Before buying these appliances, check for the right size, scan for any EnergyGuide labels that compare energy usage, and make sure that there are sufficient energy-saving settings. If you like to plan for the future and be prepared, you should look into getting a home warranty that will provide peace of mind if any unexpected issues arise down the line. Nobody wants to scramble for last minute repairs, so home warranties eliminate the stress and hassle of coming up with the necessary money at a moment’s notice. Implementing this at the beginning of your time there will help you save money in the long-run, especially for new homeowners.

Consider Solar Panels

Solar-powered systems are able to derive clean and natural energy from the sun. Installing solar panels on your home will help reduce your dependence on power companies, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions from the power plant. Most of our traditional electricity supply systems are sourced directly from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas which, when burned to produce electricity, emit harmful greenhouse gases that are a primary cause of air pollution and global climate change.

The most common solar panels are ones placed on the roof of your property. New homeowners should take into account the amount and size of panels that they want, as well as the location and direction the panels will need to face. The most common direction is south-facing, however, not every home has the same options Much like every home addition, it would be a lot easier to hire a solar contractor to assist with your eco-friendly aspirations rather than taking on such a big project on your own. This way, you not only save yourself time and energy, but you can confidently implement these costly tools.

Evaluate your Home’s Insulation

Before buying or moving into a new property, every homeowner must reevaluate the home’s insulation. This feature can provide a variety of functions to increase your overall comfort while cutting costs and saving energy. Effective insulation can protect your home from extreme outdoor temperatures while creating more consistent indoor temperatures. It can also increase your home’s indoor air quality and help control the humidity. It’s best to implement air sealing and home insulation together.

Air sealing helps to keep unwanted, outside air from filtering in through cracks, gaps, and holes, by essentially creating an air barrier along the exterior of your home. Insulation works a bit differently in that it provides resistance to the transfer of heat, thus keeping heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer. In other words, insulation acts as an effective thermal barrier. Finding nooks and cracks in your home’s armor and evaluating your home’s insulation begins with an energy audit. During an energy audit, a home performance expert will inspect your home and administer several diagnostic tests to assess the efficiency of your home. This inspection will help target problem areas that are undermining home comfort and efficiency.

Implement Smart Systems

Smart home automation systems are critical when it comes to creating a more efficient and sustainable home. There are a variety of gadgets new homeowners can utilize to get the most out of their home in an eco-friendly way. A smart thermostat, for example, can automatically change temperature based on your preferences along with a specific schedule. Even lights can be programmed to shut off at a certain time to save energy. Smart home automation can also help you maximize home security practices so that your home surveillance system can be accessible from the palm of your hand.

It may seem like a large demand to implement a number of different smart home systems, but all of these systems have capabilities that some homeowners never thought were possible. Smart home automation systems will only get more advanced, so if you start utilizing these features now, you will be in a better position for the future. Carefully consider how much easier some of these systems will make it for the people residing in your home.

Moving into a new home is always an exciting adventure, but it can also be overwhelming at times. Investing in eco-friendly ways to save money and energy will not only help homeowners live a more sustainable lifestyle, but can help save the earth. We only have so much time left, let’s try and make a difference while creating a home atmosphere that is positive and refreshing.

Zero Energy Homes Are Great, But Let’s Make Them Better — Zero 2.0

Zero Energy Homes Are Great, But Let’s Make Them Better — Zero 2.0

By Joe Emerson and Bruce Sullivan 

 

The Zero Energy Project is a strong advocate for and supporter of net zero homes (and buildings) and has been for more than a decade. These super green homes are a huge step forward on the path to zero carbon and healthy living. The most powerful attribute of net zero homes, unlike many green home concepts, is that zero is quantifiable through energy modeling and/or tracking energy bills. As the concept of zero evolves, moving to the next iteration of these homes — Zero 2.0 — will be central to ensuring that we positively address the climate disruption, pollution, and financial challenges of the 21st century. Zero 2.0 must reduce the overall carbon impact of homes and buildings to zero while enhancing occupants’ health, security, resilience, and financial stability. Zero 2.0 is both a vision for the future of buildings and a roadmap that we must start implementing immediately. 

Challenges and Upgrades for Net Zero Homes 

To ensure that net zero homes truly get us on the path to zero carbon and zero negative impacts, they must more effectively address several challenges that faced the first generation of zero energy homes. Here are those challenges and the innovations needed to reach Zero 2.0. 

 

#1 The Use of Natural Gas. Using fossil methane gas for space heating, cooking, and water heating can no longer be an option if we are to prevent the worst of global warming. Zero 2.0 homes and buildings must be all electric. If electric grids source 100% renewable energy, then all-electric, zero energy ready homes will then be net zero, and existing zero energy homes can produce excess renewable energy to contribute power to electric vehicles, batteries, and the grid. 

 

#2 The Disconnect between Solar Production and Home Energy Use. Solar electric panels produce the most power around midday, even though the homes they power consume the most power in late afternoon and evening — creating a disconnect between supply and demand. Zero 2.0 must include smart home controls that integrate with a smart grid, operating dishwashers, laundry, water heaters, and car chargers during times most advantageous for grid stability and low retail pricing. As battery prices come down, Zero 2.0 must include sufficient on-site energy storage to manage appliances’ energy use in a demand-response program to even out energy loads as grids use more renewables.  

 

#3 Most Solar Systems Provide No Power During Outages. Most grid-tied solar electric systems cannot draw on their own solar production during power outages, even when solar power is abundant. As currently configured, they do not enhance resiliency as extreme climate events become more common. Zero 2.0 must include battery back-up for critical survival needs.  

 

#4 Some Zero Energy Homes Rely Too Heavily on Solar. With the price of solar panels dropping, some homes employ only minimal energy-efficiency measures, such as improved insulation, air sealing, and advanced windows. When climate-related emergencies result in power outages that disable solar systems, leaky uninsulated homes will not weather emergencies as well. Zero 2.0 must be designed to the highest efficiency standards. Making all homes as energy-efficient as possible will keep healthy temperatures for days during a power outage. This is especially true for homes without solar potential that need to subscribe to off-site renewable energy.  

 

#5 Most Zero Energy Homes Ignore Transportation and Other Home Energy Uses. Few zero energy homes are designed or equipped to generate enough renewable energy production to supply energy for transportation, yard and garden equipment, and possible luxury items like a hot tub, pool, or sauna. Zero 2.0 must be designed and equipped for 100% zero energy living. This means installing sufficient solar collectors to power all energy use associated with the building, including charging electric vehicles. To increase the area available for solar production, use solar panels to cover patios and parking areas. Alternatively, you can purchase community solar or use renewable energy purchase programs. 

 

#6 Most Zero Energy Homes Do Not Account for Embodied Carbon. Zero energy homes are currently defined by operational energy and do not take into account embodied greenhouse gas emissions from materials, construction, appliance refrigerants, and more. Zero 2.0 must use carbon accounting software and low GWP refrigerants. The design-build team should use a carbon accounting software program to minimize embodied carbon in construction materials and focus on the least carbon intensive and least expensive methods for getting to zero carbon by using energy modeling. All heat pump equipment, including mini-splits, heat pump water heaters, refrigerators, and freezers should use the latest low-GWP refrigerants, such as hydrofluoroolefin (HFO).  

 

#7 Most Zero Energy Homes Are Not Designed for Resilience in Extreme Climate Events. They do not directly address local climate threats to home safety and health from extreme climate events, such as wildfire, wind, and floods. Zero 2.0 must design for resiliency in the face of the most likely local pollution and climate threats. For fire, use fire resistant materials and landscaping. For smoke and air pollution, specify high levels of air tightness and controlled ventilation, and use HEPA or MERV-16 filters integrated to an ERV and air purification system. For floods, specify appropriate foundation height, water resistance, and ventilation, For wind and earthquakes, specify structural integrity. For water shortages, use low water-use showers and faucets, drip irrigation, reuse of greywater, and if appropriate, rainwater harvesting roofs with cisterns. 

  

#8 Most Zero Energy Homes Do Not Provide the Highest Standards of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Management. These homes do not always address health threats from local environmental pollution, wildfire smoke, gas appliances, and the use of off-gassing materials during construction. Zero 2.0 must design and build to the highest IAQ standards. New homes must include features and equipment that meet or exceed advanced indoor air quality standards, such as non-toxic materials, high levels of air tightness, and HEPA or MERV-16 filters integrated into the air purification and ERV/HRV system. Go all electric, with no gas heating, water heating, or appliances, to eliminate pollutants released indoors from fossil fuel burning appliances. 

 

Zero 2.0 Starts Now 

In order to meet the extraordinary climate and environmental challenges of the 21st century, these eight upgrades to Zero 2.0 must be steadily integrated into the definition, planning, and implementation of zero. With net zero energy use, zero carbon footprint, and zero health impact, designing and building these resilient Zero 2.0 homes will ensure that the housing industry is doing all it can to get us on the path to zero carbon, zero health impact, and zero risk homes — but to be effective, these upgrades must be started now. 

 

Learn more: 

Zero Energy Project

EEBA

Ann Arbor Passive House Utilizes Mitsubishi Electric

Ann Arbor Passive House Utilizes Mitsubishi Electric

When building their new high-performance home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Eric and Jo Ann faced the integral challenge of constructing a house that not only ensured energy efficiency but was able to do so in the region’s cold winter temperatures.  

With the help of architect Michael Klement, AIA, NCARB, AIBD, CPHC from Architectural Resources, the homeowners selected a Mitsubishi Electric mini-split heat pump system for its versatility and scaled-down size. 

Based on the region’s climate, their heating and cooling system selection was one of the most important features the homeowners needed to consider. Mitsubishi Electric’s Hyper-Heating INVERTER® (H2i®) technology presented the perfect solution to withstand the below-freezing temperatures while maintaining high-performance home standards for any season. 

“Hyper-heating technology allows the unit to extract heat at lower temperatures than most units can go to,” said the installing contractor Andy Bobo, owner, CMR Mechanical. The team installed a mix of ducted and ductless equipment with 2 MSZ Wall-Mounted Indoor Units and 2 SEZ Horizontal-Ducted Indoor Units. 

“The nice thing about Mitsubishi Electric is that people ask for it by name. They’re not just asking for a ductless unit specifically; they’re asking for a Mitsubishi Electric ductless unit,” Bobo added.  

Since completion, the Ann Arbor Passive House has been officially verified by energy rater Building Efficiency Resources (BER). 

“The home attained a HERS Index® score of 14, is ENERGY STAR® CertifiedEPA Indoor airPLUS certified and is projected to meet DOE Zero Energy Ready Home and Passive House Institute US (PHIUS+) status,” said Chris McTaggart, co-owner, BER. 

The project team also plans to add solar panels to the home in an effort to increase energy efficiency and offset total energy use.  

“We are very, very pleased with how the house turned out,” said Eric. “This home is an opportunity to lead by example and it’s already exceeding our expectations.” 

 

Learn more about the Ann Arbor Passive House here. Check out Mitsubishi Electric’s website for more information.

Bill Gates’ Path to Zero Carbon by 2050

Bill Gates’ Path to Zero Carbon by 2050

*adapted from a Zero Energy Project article by Joe Emerson

 

In his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bill Gates identifies the need for the world to get to Zero Carbon by 2050 and the consequences to the global population if we do not. He uses Zero to quantify and provide a tool for measuring the effectiveness of various technologies for getting us there. Currently, the world emits 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases per year, and we need to get to Zero by 2050. The steps are measurable. The goal is ambitious but achievable. It will not be easy!

THE GREEN PREMIUM

Gates uses the idea of the “green premium” to describe the cost to replace an existing carbon-emitting technology with a zero-carbon technology that performs the same function. The green premium can be low or even negative for many energy conservation measures and some renewable energy sources because these cost less than the current practices. The green premium can be high for other technologies in which the low-carbon alternatives are undeveloped and technically complex. Gates suggests that technologies with a high green premium need significant funding for research and development with the goal of bringing down prices so they can be implemented worldwide before 2050.

THE “EASY” TASKS

Several significant zero-carbon technologies with a low “green premium” are poised for widespread acceptance, such as electric vehicles, solar and wind power, and heat pumps. Gates urges us to electrify everything we can and to move forward with a renewable smart grid. Gates emphasizes that we are not implementing the easier stuff at anywhere near the scale needed. “We should be building out renewables 5 to 10 times faster.”

THE “HARD” TASKS

Gates describes the more challenging technological breakthroughs that we will need to implement to get to zero, including:

  • making zero-carbon cement, steel, and plastics
  • formulating aviation, shipping, and long-haul trucking fuels
  • implementing climate positive agriculture practices
  • building integrated super smart grids
  • handling the intermittency (both daily and seasonal) problem posed by renewable power generation.

For that, he calls for research into improved battery storage, clean hydrogen, and small-scale, safe, inexpensive nuclear power. To get transportation fuels to zero, he advocates for more research and development on clean hydrogen and low-carbon biofuels. And he stresses the need for more research into zero-carbon steel, concrete, and plastics to make them price competitive with existing materials.

GETTING TO ZERO BY 2030 OR 2050?

Gates believes that a 2030 target to reach zero carbon is an unrealistic deadline and that shifting to natural gas to reduce carbon by then is a dead end. We should develop and implement solutions that get us to zero even though it may take more time. While we are doing the crucial research on the hard tasks, we need to go full throttle with implementing the easier ones. To do that, we need to lower the green premium across the board.

LOWERING GREEN PREMIUMS

Gates points out that the price differential between electric vehicles and gas-fueled vehicles will disappear by 2030 due to increased scale of production and ongoing innovation. He indicates that the greater fuel savings and lower maintenance costs of electric cars already brings the green premium very close to zero. This downward curve that is happening with EVs is also happening with solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries, as well as energy-efficient heat pumps and induction stovetops. Lowering the green premium for these technologies could be as simple as creating an aggressive nationwide program of education, marketing, and financial incentives.

ZERO ENERGY HOMES AND BUILDINGS

Here are some suggestions for building professionals to help lower green premiums. These are not specified by Gates, but are in line with what he believes is needed. Over the next 10 years, we can immediately use a wide variety of easy off-the-shelf technologies, such as heat pumps, solar panels, induction stove topselectric vehicle chargers, advanced air sealingsuper insulation, and high-efficiency factory homes. These technologies can best be implemented by constructing all-electric zero energy or zero energy ready homes and buildings, with the goal that all new construction be zero energy by 2030.

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR, A COLD BATH, AND A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

Bill Gates’ path to zero is a breath of fresh air because it is based on science and economic realities. At the same time, it feels like a cold shower because the task is complex. He doesn’t greenwash the challenges, but rather, quantifies their complexities, asks the hard questions, and puts a price tag on the solutions. He challenges us to quantify the effectiveness and costs of the various strategies for getting from 51 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year to zero.

His plan for getting to zero carbon by 2050 calls on citizens, consumers, corporations, and governments to take appropriate actions. As a businessman and philanthropist, he stresses the need for zero carbon technologies to become more affordable than current ones, so they will be more accessible worldwide. Bill Gates’ book should be in the hands of every citizen. It is a roadmap we all must follow together.

 

Joe Emerson is an article author at Zero Energy Project.

Newly built home in Seattle goes beyond Net Zero

Newly built home in Seattle goes beyond Net Zero

View in the Showcase of High Performance Homes

*adapted from a Dwell Development LLC article.

SEATTLE, WA (April 2021) – Residential developer, Dwell Development LLC, continues to push the envelope of sustainable design and green construction in the Pacific Northwest with the completion of their Net-Positive Energy and Built Green 5-Star residential building certification programs. 

From design innovation to construction, Dwell takes an integrative approach to building some of the world’s most energy efficient homes. Positive Energy Homes are zero energy homes that are so efficient they produce more energy on an annual basis than they consume, leaving homeowners with extra energy to use in other ways such as powering electronics or even electric cars.  

Positive energy homes represent a whole new level of performance with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health, and durability. In order to meet these requirements, the home is equipped with a 14.25kW roof top array of solar panels that produces a Home Energy Rating System Index (HERS) rating of -2. 

“The key to zero and positive energy home building is to properly insulate and seal the home so heat and air are not lost through cracks in the building envelope,” says Anthony Maschmedt, Dwell Development owner.  

Demonstrating Dwell Development’s commitment to new achievements in green building, this is Dwell’s most energy-efficient home to date since completing Seattle’s first Emerald Star home in 2014.  

Dwell Development’s holistic approach to sustainable building helps homeowners conserve resources and cut costs while also setting the bar high for other residential developers. Net-positive homes are the next step for sustainable building, and with Dwell Development leading the way, positive energy homes will become the standard. 

 

About Dwell Development LLC

Dwell Development is founded in the belief that sustainable, efficient design can create a better tomorrow. Dwell has specialized in the design+build of high-performance, modern homes throughout Seattle and the surrounding areas. Each home is built to last, and designed with maximum comfort, urban livability, and health in mind. As leading experts in the field, Dwell Development constantly working towards the advancement and growth of sustainable design practices. Dwell strives towards creating the most energy-efficient homes in the world.

Learn more: www.dwelldevelopment.com

Healthy Indoor Air Quality in an All-Electric Family Home

Healthy Indoor Air Quality in an All-Electric Family Home

During the renovation process of their all-electric home, Maureen Mahle and Steve Klocke researched the health impacts of cooking with gas in the house. Some of the common health risks include asthma, allergies, and other respiratory illnesses.  

Maintaining healthy indoor air quality is critical for Maureen and Steve right now because they have a toddler in the house.  

[Babies] breathe so much faster. They take in so much more as a percentage of their body weight than we do. They’re much more impacted by all of those potential pollutants, said Maureen Mahle, Managing Director of Residential Building Services at Steven Winter Associates, Inc. 

The homeowners decided to install an induction cooktop in their all-electric renovated home and are already seeing the benefits.  

My kid likes pasta. The fact that he can pitch a fit and insist on pasta and I can have that pot boiling in 60 seconds is pretty great, said Maureen. 

 

Maureen Mahle and Steve Klocke are Steven Winter Associates, Inc. employees. This is a Steven Winter Associates, Inc. Project. 

Register for EEBA’s webinar with Maureen and Steve to learn more about their all-electric home renovation.  

Check out the EEBA Academy to take accredited courses on healthy IAQ and many more valuable topics! 

Mitsubishi Electric Heating and Air-Conditioning System Provides Comfort and Energy Efficiency in the Taylor High-Performance Home

Mitsubishi Electric Heating and Air-Conditioning System Provides Comfort and Energy Efficiency in the Taylor High-Performance Home

Located in Austin, Texas, the Taylor High-Performance Home utilizes a Mitsubishi Electric heating and air-conditioning system to maximize comfort and energy efficiency. The Taylor family looked for a system that was flexible and could accommodate their varying needs. A key component of the high-performance heating and cooling system is its ability to use only the precise amount of energy required to meet set point temperature.

Not only does the Mitsubishi Electric system fit the Taylor family’s performance requirements, but it’s also ideal for the home’s structural space. Without an attic, proper air circulation was a primary consideration for the homeowners and builders.

“Air distribution is always the biggest challenge because we need to get large volume air out from these units to the desired locations,” said Tom Sullivan, an associate of CleanTag LLC, a local builder that specializes in building high-end residences.

The Taylor High-Performance Home received AIA’s 2019 Design of Excellence Award.

“Mitsubishi Electric has super-efficient systems,” said contractor Ignacio Moreno, owner, New Results Heating and Cooling. “This is a comfort solution for the homeowners.”

Learn more about the Taylor High-Performance Home here. Check out Mitsubishi Electric’s website for more information about energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning systems.

Full Gut Rehabilitation for a 1924 Colonial Home

Full Gut Rehabilitation for a 1924 Colonial Home

This 1924 Colonial Home in Norwalk, CT was in a state of complete disrepair before homeowners Maureen Mahle and Steve Klocke began a total gut rehabilitation of the house. They initiated the renovation process after the home was stripped down to its foundation, framing, and floors.  

Over the course of a year, Maureen and Steve renovated the home with features such as updated insulation, heat pumpsand an efficient air sealing system. They wanted to produce as much of their own operating electricity as possible to achieve a net zero home.  

Maureen and Steve also took aesthetics, decarbonization, and indoor air quality into consideration during their all-electric renovation.

Maureen Mahle and Steve Klocke are Steven Winter Associates, Inc. employees. This is a Steven Winter Associates, Inc. project. 

All-Electric Home in Connecticut Shows Resiliency During Tropical Storm

All-Electric Home in Connecticut Shows Resiliency During Tropical Storm

Last year, homeowners Maureen Mahle and Steve Klocke completely renovated 1924 Colonial home in South Norwalk, CT. Maureen and Steve implemented photovoltaics and battery storage in their all-electric home to maximize energy efficiency

In August 2020, Hurricane Isaias caused severe damage across the East Coast of the U.S. In Norwalk, CT, communities experienced vast electricity outages caused by collapsed trees and damaged power lines. 

With their all-electric energy system and backup batteries, Maureen and Steve were protected from the tropical storm. Maureen and Steve have a young toddler and particularly value the safety their energy system provides. 

Maureen Mahle and Steve Klocke are Steven Winter Associates, Inc. employees. This is a Steven Winter Associates, Inc. project.

How to Achieve Energy Efficiency and Affordability in Zero Energy Homes

How to Achieve Energy Efficiency and Affordability in Zero Energy Homes

*Adapted from: Zero Energy Project

Extremely Energy Efficient Homes

Here’s how you can start building and designing affordable Zero Energy homes while maximizing energy efficiency. These tips will help you utilize commonly available building materials and equipment along with easy-to-learn building strategies. By following these steps, you can build a new home that is affordable to build and costs less to own.

1. Start with Smart Design

Cost-effective zero net energy homes begin with smart design. Designers and architects, as well as builders, and homebuyers, should be familiar with all the energy efficiency steps involved in building a net zero home. And the home should be designed so that builders and subcontractors can implement these steps as cost-effectively as possible. There are several design parameters to which builders should ask designers to pay special attention. Detailed communication between the builder and designer will ensure that these critical details don’t fall through the cracks.

2. Use the Sun for Renewable Energy

Grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) panels currently provide the most cost-effective form of renewable energy for a zero energy home. They can power all the energy needs of a home including lighting, heating and cooling systems, appliances and hot water. However, they are the most expensive component of a zero energy home and strategies for reducing or mitigating those costs are important to consider.

3. Select Energy Efficient Appliances and Electronics

Since zero energy homes have highly energy efficient building shells and use high efficiency HVAC and water heating equipment, a new category, appliances and electronics, becomes the most  significant source of energy expenditure in zero energy homes. As a result, selecting high efficiency appliances and electronics becomes the final step needed to minimize home energy use

4. Super-Seal the Building Envelope

Super-sealing the building envelope is the single most cost-effective measure builders can take to improve the energy efficiency of a zero energy home. Several proven, air-sealing approaches are available. Choose an approach that matches your climate, skills and budget.

5. Use Highly Insulated Windows and Doors

Windows and doors are like big energy holes in a well insulated, airtight building envelope and are the third most cost-effective opportunity for making a home energy efficient. Control window and door heat loss and gain by selecting appropriate window and door products, carefully locating them, and optimizing their size and orientation.

6. Create an Energy Efficient, Fresh Air Supply

Since zero energy homes are so airtight, a continuous source of fresh filtered air and moisture control are critical to its success. This need for ventilation has a silver lining: zero energy homes are healthier and more comfortable than standard homes. Highly energy efficient ventilation systems, known as heat recovery ventilation (HRV) systems or energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems expel stale air while recovering its heat and returning that same heat to the home.

 

Learn more at Zero Energy Project.

Team Zero is partnered with Zero Energy Project and the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA).