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5 things to know about Zero Net Energy buildings

Net_Zero_CourtZero Net Energy certifications are a great way to increase the value of a building, to lower the cost of energy to run a building, and to lower your overall carbon footprint. This condition is met when the amount of energy consumed in a building is equal to or less than the amount of energy created. Here are five things to know about Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings:

  1. Traditional buildings are responsible for consuming 40% of the fossil fuel energy in the US and Europe. They are a major contributor of greenhouse gases as a result. A Zero Net Energy building significantly decreases the amount of fossil fuel energy needed in an area. Though these buildings still typically have some form of a utility bill, the amount of energy that they can return to the grid coupled with smart energy use strategies can completely change the way in which the building uses energy.
  2. Some of the energy-harvesting technologies that can be used in a ZNE building include solar energy, geothermal energy and wind turbines. Credit is also given to buildings who have electric car-charging stations regarding a reduction of fossil fuel consumption. The kind of energy production that is best for any individual building will depend on zoning codes, location and climate.
  3. Most ZNE buildings get around 50% of their energy from the grid, and will return surplus energy during certain parts of the year. In a climate that is sunny for part of the year and cloudy for other parts, solar energy will be most effective during the dry months.
  4. Passive energy use design is a crucial component to a good Zero Net Energy building. It is much easier to reach zero when the amount of energy you consume is low. This includes smart insulation strategies, natural cooling solutions, radiant heat and low-wattage lighting schemes.5. The easiest way to create a Zero Net Energy Building is to design and build new. Though zero net energy requirements may be met in a retrofitting process, it is often more difficult and more expensive than if it is integrated into the building’s original design. Even things like the wiring required to switch from producing and using your own energy and returning some to the grid may require a retrofit to be done safely and to code.

Spray Foam Insulation for a Zero Net Energy home

Check out video of USI installing insulation in a Net Zero home by clicking here: http://www.usiinc.com/blog/net-zero/learn-about-net-zero-the-home-of-the-future/

For more information on Zero Net Energy buildings or to learn more about insulation, contact USI online to find a branch near you and get a free quote. USI believes in excellence in every step of the process and ensures timely completion and quality of service, time after time.