If you love all the ideas of the principles we mentioned in SUPER INSULATED HOMES, and you want to go even a little further, this is how you design a Net Zero dream home with Mottram Architecture!

Getting to Net-Zero or planning for a Net Zero Ready Home is rewarding, but it’s also a design puzzle that we love to figure out. Building a super insulated home is a great place to start, but if you truly want to be Net Zero, it takes a little more planning. The house has to be oriented to take advantage of solar panels. The basis for Net Zero is producing all the energy on site that you need to operate your home. There are several different programs from DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home to The Living Building Challenge. But just following the parameters, and for us certifying “Zero Energy” with Resnet is a great way to achieve a zero energy home.

As an Architect and HERS Rater, Emily is able to use software to generate fairly accurate models of the home based on local utility rates and average daily user assumptions. Every homeowner uses their home differently, so truly Net Zero is a moving target. We try to maximize all of the efficiency of the home with the things we can control, like heating and cooling requirements and building orientation. The difference between a super insulated home that uses several heat pumps to heat the home, and a Zero Energy home that has to be very careful to minimize the consumption of the home so that it can offset the use with the power on the roof is slight, but important. Typically you will only have so much roof. Which means you have a limited number of solar panels that you can install. (You can do ground mounted systems, but it’s traditional to put them on the roof). You have a maximum output that you can produce, which means you have a maximum usage limit. And, I don’t know about you, but we don’t want to have to choose between coffee and a shower! So we work to figure out the puzzle of the home to get you the maximum efficiency out of every aspect of your home, including heating and cooling, but also looking at the distribution of hot water and how long the hot water tank has to run to make up for longer runs in plumbing. All of that information can be worked out and coordinated during the design phase to make sure you still have a home that flows and works for your family, but also capitalizes on stacked plumbing and an efficient building envelope.

So if you’re interested in Net Zero or Net Zero Ready, let us know and we will happily guide you through the process to get the most efficiency with the least amount of hassle. You could always just “add more solar panels” but who wants to do that, and where is the fun in that anyway!