What is a Net Zero Home?
For fairly obvious reasons, one of the biggest trends in residential construction over the past few decades has been environmental design. In recent years, the concept of a net zero home has stood in the forefront of environmentally friendly construction. Simply put, a net zero home is one where the amount of energy consumed by a home is balanced by renewable energy created on the property. As such, net zero homes essentially have no carbon footprint and they do not contribute to greenhouse gases.
At ADR Contracting, our North Vancouver residential construction team specializes in home reconstruction and full home renovations. While retroactively applying the principles of net zero design is challenging, we are dedicated to working closely with our clients to meet their unique goals. More and more, we see homeowners seeking environmentally friendly renovation and reconstruction solutions and we deliver. So then, what are some of the principles of net zero design?
First, in order to incorporate net zero design into your residential renovation or reconstruction, you must start with design. Our team at ADR works with highly experienced designers, architects, and builders who can help you identify energy efficient improvements to your home. These solutions are often cost-effective, particularly as you consider energy savings over the course of your home ownership.
Next, when you’re considering energy efficiency, you need to consider the North Vancouver climate. Optimizing efficiency means relying on the sun to provide heating; one simple design example is to maximize energy-efficient, south-facing windows to lower heating costs in the winter while shading those windows in the summer.
Energy modeling is another important principle of net zero design. One benefit of implementing net zero design strategies during renovation and reconstruction is that estimating your energy use is usually fairly straightforward if you’ve been living in your home for some time. Energy modeling relies on specialized software that can help you identify specific design choices that are tailored to your home and lifestyle.
Additionally, construction efforts should focus on mitigating the effects of energy loss. Effective sealing of the building envelope to minimize movement of air combined with enhanced insulation approaches are highly effective and affordable energy conservation approaches. In the same vein, investing in insulated windows and doors may represent added up-front costs, but the long term cost and energy savings is not only good for your budget, but benefits the environment too.
Ultimately, the heating and cooling of your home represents one of the main sources of energy consumption. Various heating options can significantly minimize your carbon imprint. Likewise, heating water is another major energy consumer. During the design phases of your reconstruction or renovation, ADR Contracting can help you identify efficient water heating technologies to move you closer to net zero design.
Finally, net zero design requires careful consideration of how you use electricity. Today, there are many energy efficient appliances, electronics, and lighting solutions that can minimize your electricity usage.
Of course, you can also utilize the power of the sun by installing solar panels to provide renewable energy for your home.
As you can see, there are many ways you can reduce the carbon footprint of your home so that you do not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. At ADR Contracting, we work closely with each of our clients to understand their unique goals and identify construction solutions that deliver on those goals.