A carbon-neutral home is a house that produces no net greenhouse gas emissions. It is the ultimate expression of green building, an ideal that can be audited and verified by a third party for all building major systems, including the structure, envelope, and HVAC. The topic of greenhouse gasses and global warming has been a contentious issue for as long as the problem has existed, making it one of the most intensely debated problems in history. But you may be surprised to learn that the solution isn’t always about finding new ways to reduce emissions, or preserving already-established environmental protection laws. Sometimes, there are little things you can do in your daily life to help cut back on your carbon footprint while also improving your home. Here are some easy ways to have a more green, zero-emissions house.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Zero-Carbon Home?
Zero-carbon homes are designed to generate as much of their own energy from renewable sources as possible. For example, an energy-efficient heat pump uses solar-generated heat to warm air that is routed through the ground and into the home in winter and sends it outside through a network of ducts in summer. Zero-carbon homes typically cost between 5%-15% more than a similar-sized regular home. The home may also be outfitted with solar power arrays that provide power and hot water, as well as geothermal systems that convert underground heat to usable electricity and heat.
Either way, homeowners utilize these savings to offset other monthly bills. Since the typical homeowner has a 30-year loan, the uptick in mortgage payments is only $150 per month. The $30,000 investment pays for itself in less than two years. Moreover, energy savings continue into perpetuity thus providing an ongoing monthly earnings opportunity for the homeowner.
Features like a solar thermal heater on the garage roof heat domestic water 24 hours a day, 7 days per week during cold months with no additional electricity costs for the supplementing pump motor. A high-grade triple-pane window system and LED lighting throughout cut electric use by about 57 percent. The HVAC system is a heat pump water heater that provides both space heating and domestic hot water from a single source when coupled with the ground-source heat pump that heats the domestic water.
Can Existing Homes Be Renovated to Become Zero-Carbon Homes?
It certainly might be more of a challenge to retrofit an energy-inefficient home into a zero-carbon home. But, new technologies make it possible to reduce the carbon footprint of your home significantly. Home renovations have a high level of embodied energy and often times it is easier to renovate a home than building a new one. Spruce up your existing home by installing these energy-saving upgrades such as insulation, low-flow toilets, LED light bulbs, and more.
Keys Steps To Convert To A Zero-Carbon Home
Complete an Energy Audit
This will include an analysis of the energy sources at your house, from water heaters to furnaces and everything in between. Using the results, we can help you develop a plan to reduce your energy use. It will also provide suggestions on simple fixes that can be achieved with a small budget. recommendations may be made for a contractor who has experience in carbon-neutral construction.
If you have environmental goals and are building a new home, we can help you build your carbon-neutral house. Government incentives are available for people planning to build a new zero-carbon home.
Monitor Your Energy Use
It is important to monitor your energy use to ensure it is operating as expected. This will allow you to verify that the house is genuinely producing as much energy as it is consuming. This means comprehending utility bills and setting up a monitoring system to track renewable energy production.
Important Things to Think About
Site orientation is a factor in the designing process by architects. They look at the site and decide where they can build to suit it and where they can’t. An architect then would consider how to incorporate solar panels, block off certain areas so that people do not get exposed to the hotter spots of the home, how to make this area suitable for heating and cooling, if any.
The design will take advantage of cool breezes in summer and northerly sun in winter, minimizing – and in some climates eliminating – the need for artificial heating and cooling. A passive design will also make use of natural sunlight so you aren’t depending on artificial (and energy-draining) light.
Produce Your Own Clean Power
Start producing your own clean power with strategically placed solar panels. When it comes to estimating how much energy you will need, keep in mind your energy needs for the new build will differ from the old, based on the adoption of passive home methods, a new layout/size, and potential new appliances. Also, your home can generate power when the sun is shining, and store it in a battery. This way, you will have some backup power at all times.
Insulation is Essential
There are many reasons to use insulation. It helps keep the family warm, comfortable and secure. It adds value to your house and saves you money on heating bills. It even reduces air pollution – which is good for us all.
The type of insulation used in houses can vary depending on which is most suitable for the house. One factor to consider when choosing the type of insulation is whether or not to include internal window coverings. This helps keep heat from escaping in the winter and unwanted cool air from entering in the summer.
Make Sure To Use The Right Materials
You want to make sure that you choose the highest quality windows. Materials such as double or triple-glazed windows will save you energy costs and help make your home a comfortable temperature.
Double glazing will make a significant difference to your household’s heating bills. It will also improve the energy performance of your home. It can reduce winter heat loss by up to 70%!
For carbon-positive homes, necessary actions need to be taken. Ensure the use of energy-efficient appliances in order to reduce carbon emissions. Use the sun’s heat to heat your water by using solar hot water heating and low-flush toilets.
When it comes to building, it’s a smart idea to understand the environmental impact of their decisions. If you want your home to have a positive environmental impact, consider a zero-carbon home design.