Transitioning to a Net-Zero Home


| 8/27/2015 5:00:00 AM


Jeffrey and Judith loved living in the quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine, with waterfront views. They resided in a large seaside home where an estuary formed as Little River met Penobscot Bay. However, significant time and resources were needed to maintain and heat the home with oil and wood. Although Jeffrey and Judith enjoyed entertaining and spending time by the bay, they decided to list their home for sale and move into a net-zero energy home at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage.

"Everyone knows that Americans consume resources at a rate that is not sustainable," Jeffrey says. "I always thought I was making my contribution by recycling and driving an economical vehicle. At the same time I was living in an enormous house that, in a third world country, could house 10 families. Before we insulated the attic we were using close to a thousand gallons of oil each year. This is not a sustainable number for two families, as we had a rental apartment in the home."

Belfast Maine Net Zero Home 

The Benefits of Their New Net-Zero Home

Their new 1,500-square-foot, high-performance home is primarily heated by passive solar gains, appliances and even occupants. A modest 4.5 kW solar system produces all the power the family uses over the course of the year. Because the home is all electric, solar energy heats the water and home, and powers appliances.

Transitioning To A Net Zero Home 



How to Plan a Net-Zero Home

When planning a net-zero home, it’s wise to start with energy efficiency. Jeffrey and Judith's home has generous amounts of insulation in the foundation, roof and walls; lots of large south-facing triple-pane windows; and is oriented for maximum solar gain. The slab-on-grade foundation warms up on sunny winter days, slowly releasing the heat when temperatures drop. The home is air-sealed, making it virtually airtight. Even on cold, windy, winter days, the couple can sit in front of the windows and feel no drafts.

EGQ
9/10/2015 5:41:04 PM

What is the price point for this type home? We live off-grid already but sacrifice modern conveniences(like lighting) when the solar is low.




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