An increasing number of people are concerned about climate change and the looming energy crisis. As a result, they are looking to change the way they live and incorporate renewable energy into their properties. A zero net energy home produces as much energy as it consumes, so it is sustainable in the long run and not dependent on external energy sources like natural gas, oil, or coal.
This is not only better for the environment, but it is also cheaper and more convenient for the residents. However, it takes more planning than a regular house. If you’re interested in building a net zero home, you should contact experienced architects who have worked on similar buildings before. They can help you plan and execute your project in a sustainable way.
What Is a Zero Net Energy Home?
A net zero home is a house or apartment that produces as much energy as it consumes. This doesn’t mean that your building won’t consume any energy at all. You’ll still benefit from all the modern conveniences like washing machines, electric lights, and access to the internet. Instead, your home will produce enough energy, for example through solar panels, to make up for your consumption.
When designing and building a net zero home, there are two main factors to consider: how you will produce energy and how you will reduce your consumption. The former involves using sunlight, water, and the wind and selecting a suitable location. The latter consists of insulating the home from excess heat and cold and implementing smart technology solutions that automatically shut off appliances when they aren’t in use.
Before you can start planning your new home, you’ll have to find the ideal location for it. Not all areas are suitable for a net zero house, so you’ll have to choose strategically. Some factors to consider include whether there is enough sunlight to create solar energy and whether the wind patterns are ideal for generating power. You should also consider the rainfall in the area and what the local building codes, restrictions, and guidelines are.
Once you’ve selected a good location, you can start thinking about how to lay out your house. Many people choose south-facing windows because they will let in the most sunlight in winter. As a result, your house won’t need to be heated as much as a north-facing property. On the other hand, solar panels should face north because this allows them to capture the highest level of sunlight.
Free Energy Sources
To be considered a net zero home, your property has to generate enough power throughout the year to sustain your lifestyle. Therefore, you will need to take advantage of all the free energy sources available to you. For most people, the easiest system to set up is a photovoltaic one. Solar panels can be installed on almost every property, and they are highly effective at capturing sunlight and transforming it into electricity.
In addition to providing you with electricity, solar energy can also be used to heat up your water. Solar heating systems can be mounted on your roof, free-standing, or hung from a wall. You might want to consider supplementing your solar energy supply with wind turbines. These are most often seen on wind farms, but you can install a small turbine in your home, especially if you have a large yard or garden.
Creating a net zero home is much easier when you don’t use large quantities of energy. You should do all you can to reduce your need for heating and cooling your house. Insulation is a highly effective technique that involves adding an extra layer to your walls and your roof in order to keep the temperature constant within the house.
In addition to solid walls, you will need to triple-glaze your windows and create an airtight facade. You can imagine this type of house like a person: it “breathes” only through the mouth and nose, not through each pore. There are various insulation materials available, and your architects can let you know which ones would work the best for your location and type of building.
Even if you’re very conscious of your energy use, mistakes happen. For example, you might forget to turn off the lights when you leave a room, or you might not remember to lower the blinds to conserve energy. A great way to further reduce your power consumption is to install smart technology in your home. In a smart home, you can set schedules so the lights and your appliances turn off and on automatically.
You can also control your heating, lights, and appliances via your phone, so you can switch them off even if you’re not at your house. This is especially useful if you have several rooms in your home. Each one can be heated to a different temperature, and you don’t waste energy heating up a room you won’t use for the next few hours. Additionally, smart blinds can preserve heat in the winter and keep your home cool in the summer.
What Are the Benefits of Net Zero Homes?
Now you know how a zero net energy home works, you might wonder whether building one is worth it. What are the benefits of living in a property that doesn’t require outside energy sources? There are several major advantages. Not only is this way of life more cost-effective, but it can also be safer because you won’t rely on the energy industry, which is notoriously unstable. What’s more, a well-insulated house is much more pleasant to live in.
Many existing buildings aren’t future-proof because they are designed to use unsustainable types and amounts of energy. This means that they will require a significant amount of renovation in the future. In the next few years, it’s likely that environmental laws will tighten, so homeowners might be faced with costly renovation bills.
In contrast, a net zero home is designed to last for many decades with minimal upkeep. These houses are considered ethical, and their running costs are up to 80% lower than those of more traditional homes. For these reasons, they are likely to be in demand, and they will increase in value over the next few years. If you ever decide to sell your net zero property, you can expect to make a significant profit.
In the last few months, energy costs have spiraled out of control. This has caused problems for many people, especially those who use large amounts of energy on a daily basis. Designing your home in a way that conserves energy is one of the best ways of reducing your costs of living. Although it might be more expensive to build your net zero home, you’ll be much more resilient against future changes in the energy market.
More Pleasant to Live In
Another factor to consider is how functional a property is. A net zero house is likely to provide residents with a higher quality of life because its temperature is easy to regulate. What’s more, dust and noise pollution are easier to avoid because of the high levels of insulation. You won’t spend as much time cleaning your home, and you’ll always have a quiet place to work, socialize, and relax in. Common problems like mold will also be eliminated.
Are Net Zero Homes the Future?
Most experts believe that net zero homes are the future. We can’t go on using unsustainable energy sources indefinitely, so alternative options will need to be developed. While it isn’t currently possible for everyone to construct a home that produces as much energy as it uses, installing solar panels and similar devices is a growing trend. In fact, there have already been more than two million solar installations in the US alone.
How Can You Set Up a Net Zero Home?
You’ve done your research, and you’re ready to proceed with your net zero property. So, how can you get started? Since this is a complex and multi-faceted project, you’ll have to work with experienced architects. The first step is to consult with a suitable firm. If you already have a property or land, you can ask the architects to visit your site and evaluate whether building a net zero home is realistic.
Then, you will come up with ideas and select the most suitable ones. Your architects will help you at every stage of the project, from the planning phase to the execution. Since they have contacts in the industry, they can help you employ the most competent contractors. What’s more, the architects are aware of all the local building codes and laws, so you don’t risk having to tear down or change a structure later on.
A zero net energy home produces as much power as it consumes throughout the year, so it is sustainable and cheap to run. When building such a house, you’ll have to take into consideration its location, the free energy sources available, insulation, and smart technology solutions. Get in touch with us at Hutter Architects to speak to a professional about your ideas. We’ll be happy to come up with a plan for your net zero home.