Net Zero Construction is about building a structure that produces as much energy as it consumes while providing shelter and amenities like HVAC, lights and other features that makes living there possible. It is a big change in perception when a builder moves from just barely meeting code to building something that is much more energy efficient.
During the Apollo space program in the 1960’s, engineers quickly discovered that every pound that you reduced in capsule weight, you could reduce the thruster weight by 3 pounds. A lighted capsule needed a smaller rocket to get into orbit and eventually the moon. Building a house or commercial building that will produce enough energy to meet its needs is much the same. Better and thicker insulation, more efficient Heating Air Conditioning and Ventilation, better windows are all just part of the equation. Anyone can buy more solar panels to power a house, but that is a very expensive option. A more energy efficient house uses less energy so fewer solar panels are needed to meet those energy needs.
The next few months, we will cover many of the considerations necessary to make a net zero house possible. Even if you can’t reach Net Zero, who would complain about a $10 – $20 monthly utility bill. These things have to be considered up front during the planning phase and then regularly inspected to make sure that the details are done correctly during construction so the end result of a Net Zero or Near Zero house is possible. We have reached the age of “show me your homework” to demonstrate that the results are possible.
We hope you enjoy this series.
Jim Hemsell – President
Certified Energy Manager