What are Net Zero homes?

Incorporating Passive Solar to Achieve a Zero Waste or Net Zero Home

As environmental concerns continue to grow, home owners are on the lookout for new ways to go green whenever possible. Recycling, electric vehicles, and solar panels are all excellent, eco-friendly solutions that allow us to incorporate more sustainable features into our daily lives. However, some home owners are taking matters one step further in pursuit of a life that is free of wasted energy. Energy generators outside the home and interior optimization of space and exposure can make a waste-free life possible. Though these homes may “net zero” energy, they certainly net green results.

What are Net Zero Homes?

While net zero houses appear just like any other home, their function is much different. By incorporating solar panels, wind mills, or other energy generators on the premises, these “zero energy houses” create as much or more energy than the inhabitants use in a given day. However, it is not just the energy generators that make this style of living effective. The house itself must be designed to effectively conserve and utilize what energy is available. This could be achieved through an efficient layout where airflow is optimized for all seasons and keeps the internal climate regulated without the use of significant amounts of energy. Many net zero buildings are so well-insulated that very little interior air can escape at all. In addition, net zero homes can use a feature known as “passive solar” to optimize their exposed rooms for energy retention.

What is Passive Solar?

Passive solar describes a space that uses its windows, floors, and walls to collect and redistribute heat energy in the room. This energy is most commonly used to retain heat in the winter and deflect heat in the summer. This technology keeps certain rooms in the house from needing to be heated at all and does so without compromising comfort.

Incorporating passive solar design into your home has never been easier or more affordable. Photovoltaic panels can be incorporated into most elements of the room and are quite discrete in their appearance. However, not all passive solar solutions involve the use of solar panels. Something as simple as incorporating stone tile into the room can help trap and slowly release heat when planned correctly. The same can be said about the addition of a Trombe wall, which uses layers of glass and stone to store and radiate heat.

How can Solar Innovations® help?

Not only can Solar Innovations® help you optimize your home’s light exposure, but our team of professionals can help formulated a plan to maximize your energy use around the whole house. By utilizing the existing layout and finding the structure or window that fits your needs, we can help you achieve the sustainable home you have always dreamt of.

Here are just a few ways Solar Innovations® has used passive solar designs to help our customers:

Case Study – How to Achieve Passive Solar Lighting with a Skylight

Case Study – Achieving a Multi-functional Living Space with a Custom Octagonal Conservatory

Case Study – Using Passive Solar Design for Plant Growth