Net Zero Homes - All You Need To Know
What Is A Net Zero Home?
A Net Zero home is a home that produces as much energy as it consumes. This is achieved through considered design choices, use of modern materials and techniques and green energy.
Our President, Bob Deeks, is the Vice Chair of the Net Zero Energy Housing Council and is very passionate about Net Zero homes.
Why Build A Net Zero Home?
A Net Zero home uses less energy than a traditional home. This is mainly due to the fact that traditional homes waste a lot of energy that is created for them. This energy can come from burning fossil fuels which is harmful to the planet. Net Zero homes have a much smaller reliance on these practices and therefore have a much lower impact on the environment. Thanks to recent advancements in technology and science, it is now easier than ever to have an environmentally conscious home.
Another great benefit of Net Zero homes is that they are a great financial investment. Any homeowner will tell you that year on year utility bills are growing. We have become reliant on external companies to provide us with our heat and energy. This dependence means that most people have no other choice when the costs rise.
With a Net Zero home you will use much less energy than a traditional home, this alone will greatly reduce your utility bills. Net Zero homes also generate part of their own energy through solar, geothermal or wind energy. While the initial outlay for these technologies is more expensive than traditional ones, in the long run, they work out to be much cheaper.
How To Build A Net Zero Home?
When building a Net Zero home there are a number of tried and tested techniques that can be used. The great thing about a Net Zero home is that you can pick and choose from these techniques to find a combination that makes your Net Zero home your dream home.
At its very core, Net Zero homes harness natural energy to reduce environmental impact. Orientating your Net Zero home in a southerly direction and installing large windows is a great way to do this. The sun shines in through south-facing windows which heat your Net Zero home. This energy can help heat your home, especially when teamed with a thermal mass slab.
Geothermal Heat Pump
Installing a geothermal heat pump in your Net Zero home is a fantastic decision. A geothermal system transports heat both to and from the earth. The heating system consists of loops of pipe in the ground where the temperature is constantly warm. It is much more energy efficient to move heat from one source to another, rather than creating heat by burning fossil fuels.
In winter heat is drawn up from the earth and this energy, in turn, heats the Net Zero home. In warmer months, excess heat can be removed from the Net Zero home by the heat pump and returned to the earth. The energy created by the geothermal heat pump can also heat water tanks in the home.
Another great way to create energy for home use is with solar panels. Solar panels are becoming a very common sight on new homes. They are a great way to heat water tanks or even charge your electric car or e-bike.
There have been some incredible advancements and discoveries in material technologies over the past number of years. This has allowed us to create Net Zero homes that are both beautiful and functional.
Thermal Mass Slab
A thermal mass slab in your Net Zero home acts as a natural heat regulator. A thermal mass slab is generally made from stone, masonry or concrete. The slab absorbs heat throughout the day and dissipates it throughout the night. This allows you to keep your Net Zero home at a comfortable temperature throughout the day. A polished concrete floor in a south facing room with large windows will go a long way to making your home NetZero.
One of the least energy efficient parts of traditional homes are the windows. Traditional windows, made from inefficient materials, allow a vast amount of heat to pass through them. It is also vitally important that the window frame is sealed properly as to not allow heat to escape.
Window frames made from a high-quality uPVC or fiberglass can really help to reduce the amount of heat loss. The low-emissivity glass allows light and energy in but is very good at not allowing heat to escape.
LED lights have come a long way in recent years, so much so they are now suitable for almost any situation in a Net Zero home. They are cheap, very energy efficient, give off a minimal amount of heat and have a very long lifespan. A quality LED light has a lifespan of ten years.
Energy efficient appliances have been available for quite some time now. Using energy efficient appliances can lead to less energy and water being used in your home. Over their lifespan, they will also cost less to run than inefficient appliances. When shopping for a new appliance, make sure you read and understand the EnerGuide label.
RDC FIne Homes are passionate about Net Zero homes and are very knowledgable about the topic. Get in touch with us today and see how we can make your dream Net Zero home a reality.
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2019