Buying and building a zero energy home

Green building is a trend that has been identified as one of the most significant developments in home building in the past three decades. Net zero energy buildings are “on-grid” structures that produce renewable energy onsite at a value equal to, or greater than, the building’s total annual energy consumption. Zero energy building technologies can be installed both in commercial and residential buildings.

A typical zero energy building is designed to be responsive to the climate and usually features: high levels of insulation and air sealing; windows with energy properties selected for the climate; careful design and installation of HVAC and plumbing systems, minimize energy loss; ducts in conditioned space; high efficiency HVAC equipment sized according to industry standards; and high efficiency lights and appliances.

Homebuyers benefit from zero energy home in that monthly housing costs are predictable and stable, from the performance of a zero energy house including high levels of comfort, reliability, and indoor air quality. Homeowners can only place value in zero energy house if they have a basic understanding of the concept. Homebuyers are concerned about the aesthetics of roof-mounted solar thermal and electric systems. When this kind of house is presented to a homebuyer as an option, there is competition for limited investment dollars between zero energy house features, which are typically invisible, and other more tangible amenities. The cost of green house is prohibitive for many homebuyers. The economics of is most favorable when the retail value of electricity is credited for any power sent into the grid.

Home builders can benefit from constructing zero energy buildings because they can offer a product that helps differentiate them from other companies. Home builders can increase profits by selling homes at a higher price, develop partnerships with organizations that have expertise in energy-efficiency and
renewable energy. All this is resulting in greater exposure to the homebuying public.

The reality of Zero Energy Homes is that user behavior has a lot to do with whether or not the house actually reaches a net zero energy status.

But there are still some critical obstacles to home builder acceptance of the zero energy concept. Builders are often skeptical of homeowners’ willingness to pay for advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy systems. Builders are also concerned with the aesthetics of roof-mounted solar thermal and electric systems.

But one of the most critical obstacles is that there is a lack of understanding of the zero energy home concept among home buil

Buying a zero energy home

ders and among homeowners.