A zero energy home

Achieving a zero energy home means learning how to optimize the largest energy users like heating, cooling and ventilation systems.

Now, we are going to focus on these 7 specific areas:

  • Solar power
  • Capturing heat
  • Geothermal ventilation
  • Electricity
  • Materials
  • Appliances
  • Insulation

Solar power

Photovoltaic panels, also known as PV, convert sunlight directly to electricity for power needs in the home. Any excess electricity generated is sold back into the power grid under a “net metering” agreement.

Solar thermal panels use sunlight to heat water. The water is stored in a tank that supplies hot water for home heating and domestic uses.

Capturing heat

South facing windows bring passive solar energy into a greenhouse. The warm air is pumped through ducts for home heating.

Geothermal ventilation

Air for interior ventilation is delivered through underground geothermal pipes that produce a constant air temperature of 55 degrees. A heat exchanger recovers heat from stale air to warm incoming fresh air.


Low electricity use is achieved with compact fluorescent light bulbs and occupancy sensors that automatically turn off lights.


Paint, carpeting and other construction materials emit few toxins allowing the home to be built tight and keeping ventilation requirement low.


All appliances should be “energy star” rated for maximum efficiency.


Heavy duty insulation for basement walls. Double drywall in interior walls helps store heat