Net Zero Homes  net0homes Zero Energy Homes - The Ultimate in Green efficiency Net Zero Homes
  complete energy efficiency - No more paying the electric company every month.... with a net zero home, they now pay you!

Net zero energy usage

Net zero efficiency is in part accomplished through renewable or natural energy sources powering your home, providing more energy to you than what you pull from your power company. If your home generates more power than you use, your "net" power usage is zero. The utility company, instead of charging you, will now be paying you for the excess electricity your home generates and returns to the grid.

To make that goal much easier to accomplish, new home builder Meritage Homes figured out how to make their homes use less energy, which in turn makes it far easier to accomplish net zero energy consumption. That, my friends, is the secret. You can add all the solar panels you want to, but if your house is a swiss cheese-like structure wasting money and leaking out what was intended to help you, why bother? As you'll see, by avoiding and/or reducing energy waste, Meritage does it right and in the process discovered how affordable and easy this actually is!

When it comes to energy efficient homes, the lower the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score is, the more money you save. The HERS index is a measuring system set by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) that examines a home's energy efficiency to determine if it meets ENERGY STAR® guidelines.

According to marketing material provided by Meritage Homes, the average resale home has a HERS Rating of about 135. In June of last year (2010), Meritage Homes began selling homes in a community called Lyon’s Gate, in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. The marketing pitch for the eight models available in the development was that they were the first generation of Meritage houses to achieve Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores in the 20s and low 30s – far superior energy performance ratings than the 85 HERS points required to obtain an Energy Star® rating.

As I just said, an Energy Star® Rated Home must have a HERS rating of at least 85 to qualify for the label, and a home that does earn that can expect an average annual home energy savings of about $961 over a similar resale home. Such homes may just have a thermal bypass & programmable thermostat to accomplish this.

In 2010, brand new homes built (by the average New Home builder) to current standard building codes have an average HERS rating of 100. This would equate to roughly a $539 annual savings over the average resale homes.

According to Meritage Homes, their Meritage Green home has a verifiable HERS rating of 30! Saving their homeowners an average of $1,850 in annual home energy costs. Oh, and by the way, the ability to perform this comes standard in all of their new homes! Your estimated saving over the course of your 30 year mortgage is an astounding $55,500!  That's amazing!

High performance wall structures Echo Solar Panel
ABC 15 (Phoenix) television story concerning Net Zero homes
Homes Produce, Consume Same Amount of Energy:  

How does Meritage Homes achieve this?

Superior building techniques. Programmable Thermostats (reduce heating and cooling costs up to 30%). Energy Star® appliances (use up to 50% less energy and water than standard models). SEER 14 HVAC (rated AC unit can lower cooling costs up to 40%). Echo Solar Thermal System (produces over 200% more energy than standard solar systems). High performance wall systems (are over 300% more efficient than standard walls). Spray foam insulation (improves air quality and can reduce energy costs up to 50%). Conditioned attics (reduce heat gain or loss up to 10%). Low E2 windows (can reduce energy loss by up to 50%). Dual flush toilets (on average, utilize up to 50% less water than standard models). Weather sensing irrigation (reduces water consumption up to 50% more than standard irrigation sysytems). CFL lighting (uses up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs). Low VOC paints and finishes (emit low or 0% Volatile Organic Compounds for better air quality). High performance faucets (can reduce water costs up to 50%). All of these things used together will drastically reduce the energy consumption of your home, meaning you now have the easily obtainable, extremely energy efficient, ability to generate more power than you'll use, through your Echo solar system. For more information, visit Meritage Home's website.

Obviously, results will vary depending on the lifestyle of the occupants of the homes, plus the size, elevation, orientation, and climate where it resides. Used in these examples is a typical family of four.

What other impact will this have on you and your family down the road?

Besides the obvious money savings in lower overall utility bills and reducing your cost of living, and besides the bragging rights of genuinely doing your part to help save the world's ecology by "going green", there is another very big benefit and that would be: Resale value. When it comes time to move, your home will very likely hold it's value above similar sized homes much more securely than it's competition. This is the wave of the future. The net zero revolution!

  Saving money to your bottom line and net worth

* A net zero home does not eliminate dependence on, or using energy from, the utility grid. Rather, through the home's superior energy efficiency and its ongoing creation of renewable energy, it can offset incoming energy costs over the course of time when measured annually.

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