Zero energy homes are regular grid-tied homes that are so air-tight, well insulated, and energy efficient that they produce as much renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year, leaving the occupants with a net zero energy bill, and a carbon-free home. Our NDIS properties seek to move towards the Net Zero standard by use of solar, renewables, and efficiency in construction and build.
A zero energy home is not just a “green home” or a home with solar panels. A zero energy home combines advanced design and superior building systems with energy efficiency and on-site solar panels to produce a better home. Zero energy homes are ultra-comfortable, healthy, quiet, sustainable homes that are affordable to live in.
Most zero net energy buildings get half or more of their energy from the grid, and return the same amount at other times. Buildings that produce a surplus of energy over the year may be called “energy-plus buildings” and buildings that consume slightly more energy than they produce are called “near-zero energy buildings” or “ultra-low energy houses”.
Traditional buildings consume 40% of the total fossil fuel energy in the US and European Union and are significant contributors of greenhouse gases. The zero net energy consumption principle is viewed as a means to reduce carbon emissions and reduce dependence on fossil fuels and although zero-energy buildings remain uncommon even in developed countries, they are gaining importance and popularity. To read about recent examples of newly built houses with zero net energy use and examples of renovated existing houses with a zero net energy use see Zero carbon housing.
Most zero-energy buildings use the electrical grid for energy storage but some are independent of the grid. Energy is usually harvested on-site through energy producing technologies like solar and wind, while reducing the overall use of energy with highly efficient HVAC and lighting technologies. The zero-energy goal is becoming more practical as the costs of alternative energy technologies decrease and the costs of traditional fossil fuels increase.
Since the most cost-effective steps toward a reduction in a building’s energy consumption usually occur during the design process, we’ve taken great care with our builders to achieve efficient energy use (zero energy design principles are vastly significantly different from conventional construction practice).
As an NDIS property, our occupants are likely on a lesser income, and a Net-Zero home contributes towards their quality of life.
Video: The Henley Australian Zero Emission House (AusZEH) was the first home designed and constructed in Australia with zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for the everyday family. Developed in conjunction with the CSIRO and Delfin Lend Lease - the 4 bed, 2 bathroom home was constructed in 2010 in Melbourne, Victoria (Source: YouTube).