Net Zero means that the total amount of energy used by the house is roughly equal to the energy created on site. This can take place on a small scale such as a house or on a larger scale such as a smaller city but is more common with homes. This is possible because homes that are built to be Net Zero are so well built. These homes are air tight, well insulated, and produce renewable energy which in turn leaves an energy bill that is $0!
Many people think that just because there are solar panels on a house that it is Net Zero, but this is not the case. There are a few other factors that have to be in place to reach Net Zero. At PEA Builders, we take very specific steps to make a home Net Zero. When we build the foundation and walls, we add anywhere from 2 to 8 inches of foam to keep the heat or cool air from passing through the walls.
Our houses follow the Sarah Susanka philosophy of “build better not bigger”. This means designing smarter and using the space efficiently with a well-built structure. By designing this way, we are building houses that will not be heating spaces for no reason or wasting any energy.
Along with building better, we use triple pane European windows. These windows allow more sunlight in to naturally heat the house but do not let any heat or cool air out. With triple pane windows and a large overhang, passive solar plays a big part in the comfort of our homes. In the cooler months when the sun is lower, warm sunlight is allowed in and stays in. In the summer months, the hot rays of the sun are blocked by the overhang since the sun is higher in the sky.
After all of these design aspects are taken into consideration, we assess how many Solar Panels are needed. Our active solar design utilizes these Solar Panels on the roof of the houses to bring in that extra energy, to get to Net Zero. Solar Panels are always aimed towards South to get the most out of the sun rays.
Consider the benefit of having no or very low energy bills, and not being dependent on a utility company’s shifting prices. Net Zero is more easily achievable than you may think!