A 2,700-Square Foot Net-Zero Home

by Shilpi Paul

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The term “net-zero home” usually conjures up images of moderately-sized modern, glassy creations with retracting shades.

However, this morning, the Atlantic Cities took a look at a four-bedroom, colonial-style home that is as sustainable as they come, and stretches out over 2,700 square feet.

A project from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the home has photovoltaic panels on the roof and solar thermal panels on the front porch that generate enough energy for a family of four. The house was designed to show that net-zero doesn’t need to look futuristic or urban; this house would fit in in any suburban neighborhood in the country.

In addition to the solar panels, heavy insulation and double-paned windows contribute to the efficiency of the home by sealing it. According to some experts, air sealing and insulation are two of the most effective methods of greening your home. Most of these fixes are readily available, Atlantic Cities notes, and a similar home would probably cost between $600,000 and $800,000 to construct (though this project cost $2.5 million).

Right now, the home, which is located in Gaithersburg, MD on the NIST campus, is open for tours. Soon, however, it will be closed up and researchers will begin a simulation of life for a family of four — complete with showers, TV time and even human respiration — to see just how much energy is generated and consumed. They will report on how the various technologies impacted the bottom line, energy efficiency-wise.

If McMansions are here to stay, this research may help make them a bit more eco-friendly.

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a_2700-square_foot_net_zero_home/6077

2 Comments

  1. Ryan said at 5:11 pm on Friday September 28, 2012:

    Shilpi, thank you for posting this interesting blog. It’s amazing that a home of this size and style could actually be a “net-zero home.” I just wanted to add one additional piece of information. I noticed that you mentioned that Double Hung windows were installed in this home. Many window companies have recently been manufacturing Triple Pane replacement windows, which are even more energy efficient. Triple Pane windows can often be purchased for approximately the same price as double hung windows. Hopefully this is helpful. Thanks again for this well-written article!

  1. Clive said at 6:21 pm on Tuesday December 25, 2012:

    Net Ze3ro homes are already the homes of the future and are being built all over the country in much greater numbers than here in DC. As usual the city is way behind the trend.

    Take a look at this site http://www.livegreen.cc for many ideas and examples of net zero as well as green technologies to help you improve the efficiency and sustainability of your home.

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