Zero energy homes are just like any home—except better. They are regular grid-tied homes that are so air-tight, well insulated, and energy efficient that they produce as much renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year, leaving the occupants with lowered energy and heating bills, and a carbon-free home.
The value of Net-Zero homes is incredible. Not only are they future-proof and built to stand the test of time, they also are built to higher standards than conventional new homes. A Net Zero Home is more durable – with high performance and better insulated walls, roof, and the envelope as a whole.
A zero energy home is not just a “green home” or a home with solar panels. A zero energy home combines advanced design and superior building systems with energy efficiency and on-site solar panels to produce a better home. Zero energy homes are ultra-comfortable, healthy, quiet, sustainable homes that are affordable to live in.
No longer a technology of the future, Net-Zero homes are quickly becoming mainstream, and the demand for healthier, resilient homes is on the upswing across the country.
How to Start the Net-Zero Home Process
- Efficient Home Design. Every Net-Zero home starts with a smart energy efficient design. Speak with an architect, home builder, or contractor who is well versed in Net-Zero design to get the ball rolling in the most cost-effective way.
- Use Energy Modelling. Computerized energy modelling is an essential element of building design for high-performance homes, because it allows the designer to predict the energy performance of a building based on specific site characteristics, structural assemblies, mechanical efficiencies, and available technologies.
- Seal the Building Envelope. Building envelopes are the cornerstone of Net-Zero homes. Having a well-sealed envelope on your home can have a huge impact on the rest of the house. Make sure you talk to your builder or contractor about air sealing options.
- Super Insulate the Building Envelope. Another cornerstone of Net-Zero and high-performance homes. Select framing strategies that make it easier to insulate the building envelope and minimize thermal bridging. Choose higher R-Values and check assemblies to make sure you’re using the correct values.
- Proper Ventilation. Since high performing homes are mostly sealed off, it’s important for your builder or contractor to make sure that your home has proper ventilation and a good fresh air supply. Improper air sealing could lead to stale air, or even mould. Proper ventilation means a more comfortable home with good air circulation.
- Select Energy Efficient Appliances, Electronics, Lights, and Smart Home Systems. By choosing Energy Star appliances and LED lighting, you’re giving your wallet and the environment a break. By using better home technology like smart thermostats, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your home systems and regulate them to be more efficient.
- Your Home, Your Rules. Every home is unique. Depending on your climate zone, what type of house you have, and what kind of assemblies are used could all have an effect on the overall efficiency. Be involved in the process as much as you can to have a good understanding of your new high performing home.
For more information on high performing building envelopes and expert tips on how to install insulation, visit NAIMA Canada.
North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) Canada promotes energy efficiency and environmental preservation through the use of fibre glass, rock wool, and slag wool insulation, and encourages the safe production and use of these materials.