What To Expect:
What Is a Zero Energy (Net-Zero) Home?
When the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site, a building is considered to be net-zer0
At times, the home runs on non-renewable energy, but at other times the home reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas production elsewhere by the same amount. Most Zero Energy Homes get half or more of their energy from the grid, and return the same amount at other times
Elements of Net-Zero Homes
Explore what renewable energy options there are to power your net-zero home
Energy Audits + User Monitoring
Monitoring your home's energy use is key to ensuring your home does not have energy leaks and is operating to standards.
Passive Solar Design
A passive solar design can maximize your home's energy effeciency by harnessing sunlight for heating and cooling.
Designing your home allows you to maximize functionality, comfort and efficiency.
Energy-efficient appliances and lighting drastically reduce energy consumption
Cost of Building a Net-Zero Home
Increasingly buyers are looking for homes that are airtight and well-insulated with low energy bills and, increasingly, realtors are finding that energy efficiency features positively affect the value of a home.
Net-zero homes are worth the investment, especially when considering that they have a higher resale value than similar homes built to code. In fact, a 2012 market study by Yahoo! Real Estate shows that 50% of Americans now consider green and energy efficient features a part of their “dream home.” (ZeroEnergyProject)
Cost Comparison of Homes in Massachusetts and Oregon
In a 1,200 sq. ft. zero energy home in a Massachusetts development (2012 sales price around $195,000), before rebates and tax incentives, the added cost compared to a similar home built to code came to:
Framing Double-studded Walls, Rafters: $1,670
Super Insulation: $5,970
PV System: $33,000
SunDrum Hot Water Heating System: $4,500
Before all rebates and tax incentives, the additional costs for zero energy came to $40,393 or about 20% of the sales price.
After all tax rebates and incentives and cost savings available in Massachusetts, the added costs came to about $9,000 or 4.6% of the sales price.
In two very similar 1,500 to 1,530 sq. ft., zero energy custom homes (average 2013 sales price around $400,000), the added cost compared to a similar house built to code, before rebates and tax incentives, broke down as follows:
Shell upgrades (insulation, framing, doors, and windows): $7,000 to $12,000
HVAC upgrades (heating, cooling, ERV, electrical and plumbing): $3,000 to $4,000
Solar PV and hot water: $36,000 to $40,000
Before all rebates and tax incentives available in Oregon, the average additional costs for these zero energy homes came to $51,000, or approximately 13% of the sales price.
After rebates and tax deductions available from the federal government and in Oregon, the total added cost for these custom-built zero energy homes was $10,00 to $14,000, which is less than 5% of the sales price.