If you are wondering what goes into getting your home energy efficient or what a net-zero home is, take note. One of our current projects has a projected HERS Index of 5. Compare that to the typical house you’ll find on your block with an average score of 100! That’s several higher utility bills in between!
Transforming Requests into Reality
Clients come to Carlton Edwards having ideas in mind on how they want their custom home to operate. Our architecture firm takes those ideas and transforms them into actuality. Hunter Dendy, Project Manager for the Tulip Poplar home and certified as a Home Energy Rater, LEED Green and Green built NC Inspector explains, “From the very beginning of the project the clients expressed a desire to build an efficient house that was capable of offsetting its energy consumption with renewable resources. This can be challenging in a home that also embraces the natural surrounding with an abundance of windows. We studied the seasonal solar angles to determine the appropriate shading and used the latest energy-efficient technology to mitigate heat gain and heat loss at the lowest operating cost possible. Prior to adding solar panels, the house reaches an impressive HERS 55. Then the PV system was sized to offset the remaining energy consumption. All aspects of the house work together as a system to achieve a HERS index near zero.”
Building a Net-Zero Home
High energy-efficient and net-zero energy homes are designed and built with a higher criterion in mind. Residential construction of these homes encompasses everything from the fresh air filtration system that keeps the house free from allergens and toxins to the advanced window technologies available and significantly. Net-zero home construction shields you from rapid increasing energy prices. Your mortgage home lender likewise provides more debt-to-income qualifying ratios. With global climate change as a pressing issue, buildings that are producing their energy use take a step forward in managing resources.
Net-zero home design for energy efficiency has several components. The Tulip Poplar home in the 2019 Asheville Parade of Homes tour offers a geothermal HVAC system zoned with a single system. It has a variable capacity to improve the efficiency further, and all the duct-work is located inside the home’s insulated boundary. A high-efficiency Energy Recovery Ventilator purifies the air by removing extra humidity that the air conditioner may not filter. The ERV works by capturing the air exhaust from the home to create energy for ventilation. The ERV system extends the life of the air conditioner and heat pump units and eliminates ozone that can exacerbate asthma symptoms that an air purifier may release. Consequently, breathing in the air is cleaner and safer.
Environmental Parameters Assessment
Net-zero home plans start with taking an assessment of the natural ecological parameters. As Hunter explains, solar orientation of the home with regards to using windows and solar panels as a solar heat collector and the direction of the wind to facilitate airflow are all a part of the thoughtfully built home design. Existing within this environmental design, high-efficiency windows are throughout the home with operable windows situated to take advantage of the consistent breeze. Their placement reduces the need for cooling during mild temperatures. Additionally, roof overhangs provide complete shading during the hotter months to minimize heat gain and cooling costs.
We observe the needs of the ecosystem by integrating and designing to avoid the depletion of critical resources as well as reduce and control stormwater runoff. A native, drought-resistant landscape and on-site stormwater runoff retention solution help create percolation back into the water table. This solution abbreviates the water consumption a typical landscape would demand while preventing long-term erosion in this near net-zero home.
Sustainable Interior Features
Using natural light from all the floor to ceiling windows in this home lessens dependency on artificial lighting, which in turn reduces energy costs. And a good dose of Vitamin D from the sun helps everyone’s health. When natural sunlight isn’t an option in the evenings, the LED lighting in this home uses 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer than a typical incandescent lit home.
Also, using salvaged building materials is sustainable and eco-friendly, which is why reclaimed hardwood flooring is a part of this home’s interior finishes. This flooring keeps the wood out of landfills and reduces the need for harvesting trees. Reusing and recycling this commodity offers a beautiful patina and rough-hewn textures that juxtapose with modern surfaces.
Net Zero and HERS Experts in Design-Build
“The entire team is excited about this accomplishment as it demonstrates that “net-zero” energy efficiency is possible without sacrificing the beauty of architecture. This is going to become increasingly important as energy and environmental challenges continue to grow. With the conscientious operation of the house, the homeowner should be able to realize net-zero consumption, including charging their cars,” states Hunter Dendy, Project Manager.
This home is on display on October 19-20, 2019, in the Asheville Parade of Homes from 1-5 pm each day. Come by and take a look at this eco-friendly architecture and talk to the residential architects, project managers, and vendors that contributed to this design-build custom home. If you are interested in a design-build team that can integrate these critical components of sustainability into your home, contact us for a consultation. Our team of experts in net-zero home building and design can initiate a carbon-free, climate-friendly, zero energy home that is healthier and more comfortable in which to live.