How to Create a Zero Energy Home
Zero energy home construction is becoming increasingly popular with a strong focus on conservation in the recent years. If you are constructing a new home there are several things you can do to increase the efficiency and make your home a zero energy home. Here’s what you can do.
Decrease Energy Needs
The first thing you need to consider is to make your home energy efficient so you won’t need to consume as much energy in your home. Place small walls facing west, include elements like porches and overhangs to reduce the energy needs. Add insulation to the foundation as well as the walls and ceilings.
Utilize windows that absorb and radiate heat rather than leak heat from the home outside. Make sure your home is sealed tightly, especially where the floors meet the walls, and where the walls meet the ceilings. A lot of people don’t realize that they lose a lot of energy in these spaces. You also want to make sure you are utilizing ventilation that is above normal standards. This is especially important in kitchens and bathrooms.
Use Solar Water Heating Elements
Your hot water is one area where a lot of energy is consumed. Keeping a traditional hot water tank heated all day wastes a lot of energy. You can use solar water heater systems to eliminate this problem. Look for small diameter parallel systems for all water outlets. Find a company who understands solar consumption to install a solar panel system for you. It’s also useful to use low flow appliances such as toilets.
Energy Star Appliances
You will want to make sure that all of your appliances bare the Energy Star label on them. These appliances have gone through testing to ensure they are the lowest possible energy consumers available. You can check with the American Council For An Energy Efficient Economy for consumer resources to compare different models.
Your light fixtures are another area where you want to ensure absolute efficiency. Permanent fluorescent light fixtures are a great way to ensure less energy consumption. Install these in as many places as you can.
Use Heat Pumps for Your HVAC System
Installing a heat pump or ground source heat units will help you maintain the highest efficiency possible. If you live in a climate that can support it, consider using ventilation only or evaporative coolers instead of other cooling systems. Sometimes these cooling systems aren’t possible, but if you can use them it will save a lot of energy down the line.
Use Photovoltaic Systems
A photovoltaic system will provide you with solar power to power all the appliances and lights in your home. They are difficult to install, and need to measured and configured accurately to ensure you can rely only on them for your power. You will want to find a company that is knowledgeable in the systems and the installation for your home. You can find a certified installer by checking the North American Board Of Certified Energy Practitioners. Installing these systems can be costly up front, but the savings will be something you can enjoy for the life of your home.