Free and Clear Living in Net Zero Energy Homes

You can experience a higher quality of life in your own house by converting to a net zero energy home. By employing solar electric panels, tankless hot water heaters, LED lighting and other implements for greatest energy efficiency, these powerhouses are able to produce as much energy as they use.

| March 9, 2012

  • Zero Energy House
    Some of the features and ways of building net zero energy homes are new ideas, but most of what makes up these energy-conserving homes will just be more efficient versions of their existing features. 
  • Net Zero Energy Homes
    Net zero energy homes produce at least as much energy as they consume through a combination of efficiency, design and renewable technologies. “Home Sweet Zero Energy Home” by Barry Rehfeld shows how developing a better, more environmentally friendly home doesn’t have to break your back or your bank account. 

  • Zero Energy House
  • Net Zero Energy Homes

The following is an excerpt from Home Sweet Zero Energy Home by Barry Rehfeld (New Society Publishers, 2011). This practical guidebook clearly identifies all the pieces of the zero energy puzzle and how they fall into place, and explains how homeowners and buyers can also take smaller steps towards sharply reducing the energy use of existing buildings. Keep reading to learn why net zero energy homes may be the future of building. This excerpt is from Chapter 1, "Free and Clear." 

If you were driving through the small town of Townsend, Mass., along Highland Street in the spring of 2011, you would have passed the future of building just off the side of the road. You would have passed it, too, because at thirty miles an hour the small new development looks the same as any other small middle-class neighborhood you’d see in New England.

The nearly two dozen houses already built and occupied are a typical collection of robin egg blue, canary yellow, warbler gray and cardinal red single- and two-story clapboard homes with steep gabled roofs. Had you taken a right, though, on to Coppersmith Way, the development’s single road, you’d have seen almost immediately one of the rarest of sights in any single community.

All but one of the homes have solar panels — visibly darker and shinier than the gabled roofs they cover on one side. Towards the end of the lane, you would have seen a nearly completed house that on close inspection had some other uncommon features: unusually deep walls and windows that are noticeably wider than most windows.

You might have wondered whether what you’d see inside the house or any of the existing homes would be different too, then shrug and think maybe not any more than the little you’d seen so far. You’d be right, and that’s just the point.

The Future of Building: Natural Renewable Energy Sources and More

The future of building is not about any radical change in the way houses and other buildings look. It goes deeper, to the way they work, and here the change is nothing short of revolutionary. Put simply, these are houses that will produce as much energy as they use. This balance is summed up in the name they are known by: zero energy or net zero energy homes.

8/29/2013 4:56:22 PM

I believe that climate change is unfortunately very real, not just "Radical Left Propaganda" as a previous comment alleges. The previous comment writers obviously disagree, but it's too bad they didn't read the book because it is actually full of "...quality, real world solutions which can be used on a daily basis". Even if you don't believe in climate change, it's still nice to save money and generate less pollution.

4/7/2012 3:00:12 PM

Here, here Mr. Bailey! I agree wholeheartedly.

J.Russell Bailey
3/20/2012 9:50:20 PM

Yet another 'fine' propaganda piece for the man-made global warming fanatics. This article didn't tell me ANYTHING I didn't already know. What it DID tell me is that fanaticism is becoming part and parcel of Mother Earth instead of providing quality, real world SOLUTIONS which can be used on a daily basis. PLEASE STOP with the Radical Left Propaganda and START AGAIN to provide USEFUL, step by step tools to enhance the DAILY LIFE of your readers!

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