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A 2,700-Square Foot Net-Zero Home

  • Sep 26th 2012

by Shilpi Paul

A 2,700-Square Foot Net-Zero Home: Figure 1

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 https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/a_2700-square_foot_net_zero_home/6077.

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