A positive-energy home not only produces 100% of the energy it needs for heat, lighting, and appliances but generates enough extra solar power to run an electric car for thousands of miles a year.
With the EU pledging to cut energy consumption by 20% by 2020, it is up to the individual as much as local and national governments to change their energy consumption patterns into more green, responsible and sustainable methods.
Zero-energy homes are the solution for individuals to take onwership over their energy consumption, in order to contribute to a greener planet and help save the environment.
Initiatives like the Zero Energy Project have been set up in order to help home buyers, builders, designers, and real estate professionals take meaningful steps towards radically reducing carbon emissions and energy bills by building zero net energy homes and near zero energy homes.
Net-zero energy vs. energy positive homes
Net-zero-energy means that a home produces as much electricity over the course of a year as it uses for heating, cooking, lighting, and other household needs.
A positive-energy home also produces enough electricity for its own needs, plus enough surplus electricity for other tasks, such as charging an electric car. In both cases, the source of on-site electricity is usually solar photovoltaic panels, usually the most practical and cost-effective renewable energy solution for your region.
In order to build a new zero-energy home the first step is to maximize the efficiency of the home at the design phase. Once the home is designed to be as efficient as possible, the solar panels can be oversized to produce more energy than the home will consume.
To build a positive energy home, micro-inverters are used on the solar system, instead of standard inverters. Solar micro-inverters allow to easily add on solar panels, ready for the transition from a zero energy home to a positive energy home.
Most zero-energy homes are still connected to the city's electricity grid, due to it being far more efficient and cost effective to connect solar panels up to the grid. A frequently asked question is about cloudy days. This isn't a problem however. When you put power into the grid during sunny days, you’re producing more than you can use, and so you can still use energy at night and when it’s cloudy.
"It’s like setting up your own little clean solar power plant, which means less electricity needs to be generated in the traditional way, avoiding all the associated negative environmental consequences. We like to compare it to a bank. When you have an excess of cash, you make a deposit. For all practical purposes, it’s still your money when you go to withdraw it from the ATM later, even if it was mixing with everyone else’s money on the bank’s balance sheet." say TC Legend Homes.
To learn more about net-zero homes, watch the video below:
Photo Credits: Getty Images/Joern Pollex