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Nov 13

Net-Zero-Energy and Passive Houses

Each year, new technology is developed to help us in the fight to save our planet. Some of these inventions reduce dependence on gas, while others seek to minimize pollution. Recently, many inventions and innovations have arisen in an attempt to reduce our reliance on electricity. One groundbreaking invention is the concept of the Net Zero Energy Home.

 

What Are Net Zero Energy Homes?

According to the Denver Post, a Net Zero Energy Home is defined as a “home that produces at least as much energy as it consumes.”

Some Net Zero Energy Homes use the electrical grid for storing energy while others are off the grid entirely. In both types of homes, energy is often harvested through solar and wind technology. The energy savings are compounded by HVAC systems and lighting technologies designed to be highly efficient.

The concept of the Net Zero Energy Home was once more idealistic than practical. However, recent advancements in our ability to harvest energy through the sun and the wind — as well as advanced engineering designs — have paved the way for Net Zero Energy Homes to be practical, affordable, and increasingly common.

 

Why Net Zero Energy Homes are Important?

Per Alternative Energy Magazine, traditional buildings — including homes — consume 40 percent of the total fossil fuel energy consumed in the United States. This is important because fossil fuels are non-renewable resources.

The use of fossil fuels also contributes significantly to greenhouse gases. These gases can lead to global warming, smog, depletion of the ozone, acidification of the ocean, and changes to plant life.

Net Zero Energy Homes can lower our reliance on fossil fuels, ultimately reducing the formation of greenhouse gases.

 

What are the Benefits of Net Zero Energy Homes?

Net Zero Energy Homes often require more upfront money than traditional homes, but have the ability to save homeowners plenty of money in the long run. These homes ultimately enhance energy efficiency and drastically decrease or eliminate utility and electricity bills.

Other benefits of Net Zero Energy Homes include reduced total cost of home ownership, reduced monthly cost of living, more dependable energy systems, higher resale value of property, yearly increases in the value of the home, protection against future legislation that may place penalties on homes and buildings with high carbon emissions, and, of course, the positive environmental impact mentioned above.

 

What are the Disadvantages of Net Zero Homes?

As the Denver Post reports, one of the disadvantages of Net Zero Homes lies in the high upfront costs they often involve. This is a problem because many people can’t find mortgage underwriters willing to finance these types of homes (due to the fact that underwriters don’t usually consider the energy-saving and future cost-saving aspects of the home).

Fortunately, pending legislation may help homeowners interested in Net Zero Homes. Michael Bennet, a US senator from Colorado, introduced the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy Act. This law would mandate federal mortgage loan agencies to consider expected reductions in energy cost as part of their loan qualification process. This bill would not only encourage investments in Net Zero Housing Homes, but it would also create thousands of jobs in the home-energy improvement industry.

 

This article was provided by  Charity Bailey, environmental studies major with an interest in modern, earth-friendly architecture. Charity recommends pursuing a home window replacement to stop leaky windows and increase the effectiveness of your furnace.

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