Builders Accomplishing Net Zero Energy: 3 things they focus on
Did you know California is the first state to accomplish net-zero energy for new home construction, and they did it in 2020? You're probably wondering what a “net-zero” home is. A true “net-zero” home is a home that produces as much clean energy as it consumes. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult feat...so how did they do it?
California was the first state to get to net-zero energy for new home construction. It took 30 years, but California was able to accomplish this with their newest set of building codes. The rest of the country is striving to follow by 2030. California accomplished this through installing solar and other energy efficient upgrades.
The first thing that they did was add solar, as that is the best way to offset the energy usage in the home. But solar can’t accomplish the goal on its own. When homeowners have solar, they think they won’t have an electricity bill. But once they move in, their lifestyle changes…. Maybe they set the AC to a lower temperature, or maybe they leave additional lights on because they think “I have solar, so I don't have to worry about electricity anymore”.
The key is combining solar with other energy saving technologies and measures to reduce the overall energy consumption of the home and to allow the homeowner to live a comfortable lifestyle, while still maintaining net-zero energy.
One of these measures was upgrading the insulation. While this is good, it doesn't help as much as you think it would. Insulation keeps the home tighter and helps to balance the temperature inside the home. It helps prevent air leakage in the home.
3. Whole House Fan
The most expensive appliance to run in the home is the air conditioning, making up 60 to 80% of the nation's electricity bills. This is where whole house fans come in. A whole house fan is the most effective way to cut A/C usage in a home. With a whole house fan, homeowners can save up to 90% off their energy usage while extending the life of their A/C system since they don’t have to run it as often.
This allows builders and homeowners alike to put a smaller solar system on homes, as well as help to ensure that the home stays net-zero after you move in.
If you are thinking about putting in solar, make sure you consider getting a whole house fan installed as well to cut down your energy consumption.