Have you heard of the green building terms “Net-Zero” or “Near Zero” homes?It refers to homes with zero net energy consumption, zero carbon emissions and can be independent from the energy supply grid.
Energy that’s harvested on-site from solar & wind technology, along with extremely efficient heating / cooling systems and lighting, help to achieve “net zero”. A home that produces surplus energy may be able to sell it back to a local utility. Design & construction of a new or retrofit net-zero home is key, as well as using energy-efficient building materials.
Zero-energy homes have significant energy-saving features which may include, among other techniques:
- passive solar heat gain & shading
- natural conditioning from the earth
- added insulation
- high-efficiency windows
- natural lighting & ventilation
- energy & water conservation
- solar panels
- wind turbines
- drain water heat recovery
- heat recovery ventilation
- programmable thermostats
Of course, energy use does vary widely with the home’s occupants, as does acceptable levels of comfort. For more information about current green building energy incentives, check Energy Star. Learn more about a sustainable housing initiative led by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) at EQuilibrium™ and green home building at Green Building Advisor.