Net-Zero Energy Homes for the Masses


| 4/20/2016 9:48:00 AM


Tags: net zero energy, home building, natural building, passive solar, Virginia, California, Kari Klaus,

Order your zero net energy home from a catalog? Well, kind of ...

Sears, Roebuck & Co. was not a revolutionary home builder, but its mass production of homes through their mail-order Modern Homes catalog was. Now, PulteGroup has its eye on something that could be revolutionary when it comes to building sustainable homes, more specifically net zero energy (ZNE) homes that could eventually come into mass production.

I recently interviewed Brian Jamison, PulteGroup’s National Director of Procurement, about PulteGroup’s zero net energy prototype home in Brentwood, California, in their Botanica by Pulte Homes community set for completion in May 2016. And here’s why you should be excited that a major national home builder is jumping into the eco-friendly homes market.

exterior home

A Net -Zero Home is All That and More

If you were to rank sustainable homes primarily based on their energy efficiency, ZNE homes would rank extremely high. They’re pretty cool. And complicated. In a recent blog about ZNE homes, I explained the complexities of designing these homes — not only do they need to be incredibly energy efficient, but must also be designed to create as much (and hopefully more) energy than it uses, hence establishing a zero net energy use from the grid.

Net-zero homes achieve their energy efficiency by working from the very start with this goal in mind. There are two sides to this equation — the home design must be as energy-efficient as possible so they require less energy, and then it must maximize the use of on-site energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal so they produce enough energy to power the home on their own, achieving a net zero in-take of grid energy.




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