Net-Zero, “Primary Residence” Homes, Part 1

What is a home?  Is it just a house that people live in until they don’t live there anymore? How is a house different than a condo when both could be considered homes? What about apartments and second homes … third homes, etc.  I always thought there was only one place we call “home” and that all the other places were given other names like cabins, camps, cottages, hideaways and getaways.  Here’s another question for you. “How big does a building have to be before it qualifies as a house?” Technically, a home can be any place but a house seems to need a definition that includes certain criteria. For example, I feel right at home when I’m outside in the woods. In fact, I might not feel “at home” when I’m couped up inside. Others might feel quite at home in the water or on a horse.  Well, I only ask this question to get us thinking.  Somewhere way back in time, they tell us that we were cave dwellers.  Our homes consisted of holes carved out of rock ledges. These may have been the first “man-caves” but they weren’t houses.  A lot has changed since then. 

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  1. Caveman cooking meal over the open fire; probably thinking about his stock portfolio
  2. Gets tired of being cold in winter – builds small hut made from sticks and mud and animal skins
  3. Invents handsaw, axe and hammer while being bored – builds a log cabin just for the fun of it. Realizes he can heat mud with fire to make bricks while he’s keeping warm and he also makes dowels and pins out of branches.  Starts thinking about inventing different tools for different uses.  
  4. Invents a machine that turns logs into boards and beams and builds small house with it
  5. Discovers that he can shape iron with fire and make nails
  6. Wants a bigger house to grow a family and fill his rooms with life and memories
  7. Now he just builds for fun and creativity.  Loves all aspects and trades in construction.
  8. Loves building so much that he builds bigger and bigger until he owns the biggest house ever built.  
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Today, we are here to talk about a certain kind of house; called the Net-Zero house. The only reason we can do this is because we are living in a time where a new kind of technology has entered the equation.  This has happened so quickly that we need only look back 5 years when homes were still being built in the traditional manner.  It was understood that any new home would consume energy and the only question was “how much” energy would consume in a year?  Desirability wasn’t always determined by how much energy it consumed but it was beginning to.  Location, Interior Charm & Curb Appeal & price remained the most important consideration when investing into a home. Every owner wanted to make sure their investment either maintained its value or increased with time.  But times have suddenly changed.  Things are very different now. Annual Energy Costs are on everyone’s mind.  People used to ask “How much will my house cost to build?”.  They still do, of course but they are also asking another question that concerns them just as much, “How much will my house cost to own?”

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