One way to build a truly Net-Zero house is to design the house in such a way that all heating and cooling and lighting devices are electric. Everything in the house gets its power from the grid. If this is the case, then it’s very easy to measure our consumption of electricity because the electric meter does it for us. This would be our tool to let us know how much electricity we need to contribute back to the grid using Renewable Energy. In my mind, this is the most reliable way to claim “Net-Zero” performance and to prove it with measurable data.
A Net-Zero home can also incorporate the use of other forms of
- There are some people out there who still choose to donate the additional electricity to the grid, anyway, and that way, their conscience is clear. They need to know that their donation of kilowatts is equal to the amount of Btu’s consumed and by so doing, they enjoy knowing that they are truly living a “Net-Zero” lifestyle.
- Other people are content to claim that only their consumption of electricity is 100% offset by Renewable Energy. They don’t split hairs over the fact that they have a back-up gas generator that might use a few gallons of propane in a year. Purists would aggressively debate against this point, insisting that a truly Net-Zero home must have a Net-Zero Carbon footprint. What do you think? Since a backup generator is becoming more and more essential with
empty nesters, retired and elderly, should it be considered as a factor in the normal day to day consumption of energy or can we lighten up a little and acknowledge that our focus is not so much on the consumption of energy during emergencies but on the other 364 days of the calendar year throughout our life here on earth?
There are many variables that come into play when we try to calculate how much energy we think a certain home will consume in a year. The task would be so much easier if nobody ever lived in it and we could just leave the thermostat at 50. The truth is that there is no set formula that works. All we can do is guess because of Planet Earth’s greatest variable; the human. Technically, a home could qualify as Net-Zero
- Occupancy count, and dynamics of human behavior
- Newlyweds – frolicking socializers – party hardy type – every light is on …
- Millenialist – shared spaces – nomadic community – no predictable habit
- Career Couple, no children- hardly ever home – just eat & sleep there
- Family of four or five – Now the meter starts to really spin
- Then cometh the “Teenager” – little or no regard for energy conservation
- Windows open
- Heat’s on downstairs
- A/C is on upstairs because the heat’s on downstairs
- All lights on…everywhere
- Shower running for 20 minutes
- Computer, chargers, hair dryers, curling irons, etc.
- Empty nesters – live in a couple rooms – big empty spaces hardly used
- Retired – Universal design – Home all the time – Feel Cold & Hot at same time, take lots of baths, likes to garden, has hot tub – uh-oh
- Who determines the average amount of energy consumed by one person/year?
- Energy Efficiency of the design and construction of the home – this is easy part and that’s the main reason why we are