The concept describes any building (or city) that produces as much energy as it consumes.
We’ve already seen this process unfold hundreds of times. Homeowners who install enough solar panels and on-site battery storage are able to disconnect from the utility grid entirely. And as a result, their electricity consumption no longer has any negative impact on the environment.
In fact, many of these homes actually remain connected to the power grid and sell much of their excess solar electricity to the utility. When this happens, the environmental impact of these homes becomes positive.
However, building net zero energy houses isn’t always easy. Americans love sprawling homes filled with power-hungry gadgets – from AC units to large-screen TVs to oversized refrigerators.
To become truly net zero energy requires installing a lot of solar panels – and a lot of on-site storage.
But Suzette Bienvenue believes she’s found an easier way to spread the net zero energy dream.
Smaller, More Affordable Net Zero Energy Homes
The idea is very simple. Instead of designing large, energy-hungry homes, Suzette and her team are working to build tinier residences that consume far less power.
Each home is 100 ft.² to 400 ft.² and costs less than $50,000.
Because of their diminutive size, these homes don’t need nearly as many solar PV panels to cover their respective electricity requirements. In fact, some of the houses showcased at the recent Tiny Home Competition easily qualify as net zero energy properties.
In addition to solar panels, some of these homes also come equipped with:
- Tesla Powerwall on-site batteries.
- Greywater recycling systems.
- Rooftop and vertical gardens.
As a result of these additional improvements, many of these homes are carbon neutral residences. Not only are they net zero energy, but thanks to their innovative conservation technologies, they also absorb more carbon than they put out.
Will the Tiny House Revolution Ever Take off?
These homes are small. Like really, really small. But they’re also gorgeous.
Living in a tiny space isn’t for everyone. But then again, consumer habits continue to evolve:
- Millennials sometimes struggle to find work.
- Homeowners often face crippling mortgage debt.
- Climate change remains an ever-present threat.
So it’s very possible that this niche market could become mainstream.
To learn more about transforming your home into a net zero energy property, contact us today for a free consultation.