Zero energy homes need careful consideration right from the conception stage. Our designs include clever techniques and superior construction methods that result in an efficient and energy-saving home. Here are some aspects that make way for a net zero home-
- Advanced Design
We use advanced design concepts to create a smart and cost-effective net zero home. Our architects are well versed with the nuances of energy-efficient designing. We use a number of materials and best practices which are specific only to zero energy homes.
Other considerations include the shape and size of your home, building orientation, thermal bridging, air barrier systems and more. Our designs are made in a way that your contractor can implement them in the most cost-effective ways.
- Energy Analysis
Evaluating the energy requirements of your home is another important aspect. We use energy modeling software to identify the energy saving features that are most cost-effective. The findings help us to modify or change the design aspects for maximum efficiency and affordability.
The findings of energy modeling also impact the final plans and construction documents.
- Sealing the Building Envelope
You can reduce your cooling and heating energy costs by air sealing your home. The cost-effective method also goes a long way to improve comfort and indoor air quality. We use proven and effective air-sealing solutions to create a strong barrier which preserves your indoor climate.
Our team also takes into account your local climate and budget to design a tightly-sealed building envelope.
- Comprehensive Insulation
After we have created a super-tight building envelope, we move on to design the insulation. Insulating is another cost-effective method which done properly can result in a zero energy home. We use the results of the energy modeling to find out the best ways of insulation.
Insulation is provided for all six sides of your home including walls, floors and ceilings. We also employ framing strategies to reduce thermal bridging and achieve full-proof insulation for the building envelope.
- Insulated Windows and Doors
Doors and windows are some of the main areas which leak energy. We select the most appropriate doors and windows which preserve energy and reduces your utility bills. Our team will select the windows with the best performance and even plan their orientations carefully.
Placement of doors and windows is also crucial. For example, we can strategically place windows to allow cross ventilation. It keeps your home cooler in summer and cuts down your cooling load.
The size of the windows is another important consideration. Did you know that windows leak more energy via frames than glass? For this reason, we select big windows with minimum framing for higher performance.
- Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling System
Heating and cooling system can eat up a lot of energy in any house. So we select the most energy efficient systems to meet the goals of your net zero home. There are many solutions that we can use based on your needs, climate and budget.
For example, we can use ductless heat pumps which save energy and are less costly to install. For cold climates, we can choose a cold climate rated heat pump works well even in temperatures up to -10-degree Fahrenheit.
We also choose the correct size and location of the units so that you can have the best results.
- Designed for Solar Tempering
Solar tempering is less expensive than passive solar techniques and grown in popularity in recent years. Solar tempering enables your house to use the energy of the sun without the extra expenses of thermal mass.
For example, one strategy is to maximize heating by placing more south-facing windows in winter. The same windows can be provided with shades to lower cooling load during summer.
We can use several techniques to optimize the energy of the sun to create your net zero home.
- Smart Water Heating
Water heating comes right after heating and cooling in respect to energy expenditure. That's why we select the most efficient water heating technology and strategies to conserve hot water.
Based on your needs, climate and budget, we will figure out the best heating system to use. Consequently, we can use solar water heating, heat pump water heaters or electric resistant water heaters. We also use water saving strategies like water-saving shower heads and faucets to minimize hot water use.
- Clever Ventilation
Living in a net zero home is healthy and comfortable. Why?
Because an airtight and super-sealed building needs proper ventilation. All energy-efficient homes have ventilation solutions which control moisture levels and offers improved air quality.
Various types of ventilators are available which capture the heat from the air and return it to the house. For instance, heat recovery ventilators retain 70% to 90% of the heat. The ventilators supply fresh warm air and even control moisture levels.
We decide which technology is right for your home based on several factors.
- Energy Conserving Lighting
Energy-efficient homes need energy-efficient lighting! Our goal is to optimize lighting and reduce energy consumption.
Our zero energy homes are designed to make most of natural lighting. That means using features like windows and skylights with proper placement and orientation. Natural lighting eliminates the need for lights during the day and also make your home feel cozy.
We also select energy-efficient lighting options like LED lights. You can get different LEDs like warm white, daylight and cool white for diverse lighting preferences. Choosing the right LED is vital, and so is installing them in the right places!
Our designs have it all.
- Right Appliances
Appliances and other electronics make up 60% of the energy consumption in a home. Selecting the right appliances to save energy is part of our design process.
We also provide wall outlets and switches at kitchens and entertainment rooms where you are most likely to use electronics. That way you can switch off the main power and prevent phantom loads.
- Renewable Energy
If you wish, we can even design your home with a solar power system. You can use the sun's energy for your heating, cooling and lighting system and reduce grid-dependency. The energy returned to your home also means savings on your utility bills.
These are just some of the techniques we use to design zero energy homes. We approach each client based on your unique needs, so the solutions vary from project to project. But you can be sure of one thing- we always create the most energy-efficient homes.