Why net zero?
Net zero homes are extremely energy efficient, producing all of the energy used by a home's occupants, and sometimes more, allowing energy to be sold back to utility companies. ProudGreenHome's Approved Contributing Expert Scott Flynn, principal of Flynner Building Co. in Boise, Idaho, built the first net zero home in Idaho and is starting construction on two additional net zero homes this month. Read on as Flynn shares his thoughts on net zero construction.
To achieve net zero the home will produce as much energy as it consumes over the course of each year. To achieve this pinnacle level of green building, every component within the home is specified to reduce the overall energy required for operation.
An example of net zero features include:
- 8.2 kilowatt photovoltaic system (solar panels)
Energy Star Appliances
Energy Star Lighting
- 100 percent of sockets have Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs
Windows and Doors
- Triple-pane <0.2 U-value windowR-7 doors
- R-77 attic + ceiling
- Insulated side foundation R-13 rigid material and cover with James Hardie soffit panel for protection
- R-40 insulated slab on grade with 8" of rigid materialR-60 wall with advanced wall framing and 9.5"I-Joist
- 14-inch thick exterior wall system
Heating and Cooling System
- Daikin air-to-air, electric ductless heat pump 4-port mini-split system with HSPF 9.2
- Solar water heating system
- Heat recovery ventilator (HRV)
Tested by qualified National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Green Building and Energy Star verifier.
To see just how energy-efficient builders could be in constructing homes, the U.S. Department of Energy has sponsored the Building America Builders Challenge program in collaboration with several segments of the construction industry, including NAHB. One of the goals of the program is to develop technologies and techniques necessary to build cost-effective, net-zero energy homes — houses that produce as much energy as they use annually — by the year 2030.
For more information, see our Building a Green Home research center.