Products & Services
Products & Services
Having a home that produces as much energy as it consumes is not impossible – and it’s not just for the wealthy.
You can build a net-zero home from the ground up, or you can get closer to zero by updating existing
structures and appliances, as well as by changing behaviors.
Hover over the home with your mouse to see if you can find the 10 net-zero friendly ideas.
Heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy use in a typical home. Poor insulation, especially in the attic, allows air to escape easily, further increasing usage.
Properly insulating your home is the most important and effective step in keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Correctly installed insulation, such as blown-in insulation, can reduce energy use by up to 50%. The best insulation varies with climate, but spray foam and blown-in fiber are smart options, as they last longer than traditional insulation.
Single pane windows can contribute to high-energy use by letting heat in during the summer and out during the winter. In the coldest months, windows can account for up to 25% of your heating bill by letting heat out, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Double pane windows with thick, high-performance glass have special low emissivity coatings between the panes to minimize the amount of heat that passes through the glass. For example, by adding a double pane with even half an inch of air space between the two panes, you can increase the insulation value of each window by roughly 9%.
Maintaining the desired temperature in a home is costly, especially during cold months. Heating accounts for approximately 56% of the energy use in a typical home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Energy Star heating and cooling systems can reduce energy use. It costs homeowners an average of $11 billion per year to power their air conditioners. To help reduce your energy use and purify indoor air, try an energy recovery ventilator.
Many homes have older water heaters that waste energy. Water heating is the second largest expense in the typical, with the average household spending $400 - $600 each year!
Get an energy and space efficient water heater, such as a tankless heater, which heats water directly without using a tank. Or, by choosing a solar water heater, you can save 30% on one with a federal tax credit good until Dec. 31, 2016.
The average American home consumes 903 kWh of energy per month on heating and cooling, running appliances and powering electronics. For the last two decades, the cost of electricity has risen steadily every year and will likely continue to climb.
In a single year, the sun provides more energy than all of the earth’s non-renewable resources. A 5kW solar system that runs for 6 to 7 hours per day is enough to power the average home. Even if a home stays on the utility grid for backup on cloudy days, solar panels can store a lot of energy and help keep utility bills low.
Traditional thermostats that require manual adjusting can easily be forgotten in the bustle of your daily routine, leading to unnecessary heating and cooling costs.
Smart thermostats can save up to 30 percent more energy by simply identifying patterns within the home and shutting off heating, ventilation and cooling systems when the house is empty or residents are asleep. EPA Energy Star estimates that individual homeowners can cut their cost by about $180 per year by properly using programmable thermostats. Smart thermostats offer convenient control so you can adjust the temperature remotely and run analytics on energy use.
Old toilets can be a major source of water waste, using 3 to 7 gallons of water per flush.
Low flow toilets are a vast improvement to old, inefficient options at 1.6 gallons per flush, saving 8,000 to 20,000 gallons of water per year. The best option for decreasing energy and water waste is a dual flush toilet, which has a button for light flush at 0.9 gallons and a button for heavy flush at 1.6 gallons.
Incandescent light bulbs use 33% more energy than their more energy-efficient counterparts.
Although a bit more expensive than incandescent bulbs, CFLs last about 10 times longer, between 6,000 – 15,000 hours.
Vegetation can serve purposes beyond aesthetics, including helping your home be more energy efficient, providing better air quality, reducing evaporative emissions, and helping to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Trees and other tall plants can naturally aide in maintaining your home’s temperature. You can plant deciduous species on the south and west sides of your home to get cooling savings up to 20 percent and heating savings between eight and 18 percent. They will shade in the summer and lose their leaves in the winter, allowing sun exposure as a natural heater. Plant evergreens to block or slow winter winds, likely on the north side of the home.
Standard roofs can reach temperatures of 150 degrees F or more during the summer. This heats up the home and requires more energy for cooling.
Although, the best material for a cool roof varies by climate, options include highly reflective paint or tiles, a sheet covering or shingles. These options can cool roofs by up to 50%, which not only saves energy, but can extend roof service life.
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