A net-zero home is one that produces all of its own clean and renewable energy. They tend to be new construction or gut remodeling projects because it’s easier to get to net zero by building super-insulated spaces that don’t require much to heat and cool, then add top-of-the-line geothermal heating systems, heat pumps, solar panels and other “green bling” to operate them as efficiently as possible.
Will energy efficiency add value to your home? Contact the appraisers at www.scappraisals.com for your value questions.
Patrick Hughes and Amy Sticklor began their do-it-yourself approach in fall 2013, shortly after purchasing their first home in Washington’s Atlas District. Instead of replacing big-ticket items such as the aging furnace and boiler (both of which still have a few years of service left in them), they slashed their energy usage in half with less than $500 in insulation, new lighting and other equipment available at the average hardware store or online.
Updates alone made it possible to run their entire 952-square-foot, two-bedroom home for several months of the year without exceeding the amount of energy produced by the solar array they had installed on their rooftop. Their utility bills have plummeted. In environmental terms, meanwhile, Hughes says the couple have saved 1,238.5 kilowatt-hours of power by lowering their energy usage alone. That’s equivalent to planting 22 tree seedlings that would remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over 10 years or driving 2,033 fewer miles.
“It goes to show that you can get really significant energy savings without spending a lot of money,” says Hughes, who has done most of the handiwork and tracks the couple’s progress on a spreadsheet.
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