Spectacular Energy Efficiency
What it takes to build a Net Zero home.
A home we recently completed scored -9 on the HERS (Home Energy Rating Scale).
I didn’t even know a negative score was possible. Essentially, this means that they will have a really low electricity bill every month. I’m happy to report that their first bill which also included water, sewer and trash, was $80. Of that about $30 was for electricity.
HERS is an energy analysis report performed by a third party specialist that includes testing the home for air leaks and even leaks in the ductwork. They take several of the home’s components into consideration during their analysis including windows, insulation, HVAC and even the exterior color of the walls and roof. It’s similar to the window sticker found on a new car.
Net Zero is a term that you may have heard of. The object of a Net Zero home is to reduce the energy consumption to zero but since using no energy at all would not be possible, the energy that is used is offset by energy that is created, in this case by photovoltaic solar panels. Full disclosure, this home does have 25 solar panel modules but that really isn’t a crazy amount. My personal home has 12 solar panels and our electric bills average about $75 per month.
In reality, you could install enough solar panels on any home to offset the energy usage but that wouldn’t be very smart. Ideally, if a home is built efficiently then there’s less energy consumption that needs to be offset by the energy that is produced. In my opinion, the focus should be on tight construction, insulation, windows, HVAC equipment, lighting and appliances. In this case none of these are by any means, the most efficient available but provide good energy savings at a modest additional cost.
I’d love to go into more detail and explain how we can build something similar for you.
Take care, Keith.