What are Net-Zero Homes?
Net-Zero Homes are alternative green building structures which are on the rise in order to tackle the climate change emergency. These homes are strategically designed to cut down the green-house gas (GHG) emissions. In fact, these emissions are the principle polluters. From leaving the lights on unaware to blasting the thermostat non-stop to using innumerable energy consuming appliances and devices, humans have done it all and caused the harm.
We’ve heard about the fact that 40% of the GHG is from the buildings. The International Energy Agency (IEA) unfolds here in detail about how these emissions are impacting the environment. It is upon us to set this straight before the apocalypse.
Net-Zero buildings are proving to be long-term sustainable solutions to tackle the pressing climate change issue.
How do NZE homes function?
The International Living Future Institute defines Net Zero Energy (NZE) as “One hundred percent of the project’s energy needs being supplied by on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis.”
NZE homes are designed to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions and reduce the use of combustion fuels. These homes use renewable and clean energy with almost a zero consumption of fossil fuels. They also use sustainable quality products that pass the Passivehaus standards.
What are the essential elements that make a Net-Zero home?
Although Net-Zero homes aren’t just regular homes with solar panels, the strategic utilization of photovoltaic solar panels is a crucial factor that make these homes.
Other elements that could add to making up a NZE home are:
- Thick, well insulated and air tight wall structures that cut down both heating and cooling
- LED lighting (Light Emitting Diode) which reduces about 75%-90% of energy.
- Thick, large, triple glazed open windows that provide better natural lighting and ventilation.
Are these homes very expensive?
Usually, the cost of a NZE seems to be about 25k higher than the standard homes. This would be a small amount that will be balanced out by the negligible energy bills over the next few decades. All of this, by choosing to live harmoniously with nature without adding to the massive carbon footprint.
It is good news that the NZE homes are rising even with lot of reluctance and skepticism by the builders. According to a new report by the Net-Zero Energy Coalition, in 2016, 33 percent more net-zero units were built across the U.S. and Canada than the previous year. The 8,023 new single-family and multifamily units will eliminate the equivalent of 16,406 cars and 77,929 tons of CO2 emissions each year, versus buildings that met code compliance.
In conclusion, Net-Zero homes are energy efficient, climate-friendly and carbon-free. These are perfect dwellings and provide a safe and healthy environment inside as well as outside the homes. Rising against the tide and standing tall, but compatible with nature is the most needed sustainable approach today.