As the cost of energy gradually increases for everyone, homeowners in particular are being faced with how they can reduce the mounting costs associated with home ownership. The fact isthat the vast majority of older homes and a good portion of newer ones aren’t as energy efficient as they could be. One trend in the green housing sector is working to achieve a NetZero home, but what exactly is it and what does it entail?
A NetZero home is one that produces the same amount of renewable energy as it consumes.
How is that possible? The first part of the equation is making your home as energy efficient as possible. There are numerous ways to do that:
- Reduce or eliminate air loss – Sources of air loss include lighting fixtures, window and door frames, attics, gaps in the foundation, ducts, traditional insulation that has deteriorated over time, and many more areas of your home. The ideal way to reduce your home’s air loss is to replace your traditional insulation with spray foam insulation like Icynene, which creates an effective air seal wherever it is applied in your home.
- “Right-size” your HVAC unit – Once you’ve worked to reduce your home’s sources of air loss, it’s possible that your heating and cooling equipment may be doing a bigger job than needed. Replacing this equipment with the size that a more energy efficient home needs is another step toward a NetZero home.
- Replace higher energy-consuming appliances with more efficient ones – That second fridge you have in your basement, the one that’s 15-20 years old, may actually be costing you more money than buying a second new fridge would. The same goes for everything from your television to your decorative lighting.
- Create alternative ways to reduce your home’s exposure to the elements – Planting trees and other vegetation around your home, building out additional shading devices that prevent too much sun from warming your home, all of these things can reduce your energy output.
The second part of the equation is producing energy from your home. Here are several ideas to consider:
- Install solar thermal panels on top of your home – These are used to heat water in your home.
- Install photovoltaic (or PV) systems next to, or on top of, your home – PV systems are used to produce electricity that your home can use.
- Water or wind turbines – Both of these devices are used to produce electricity for your home.
Talk to Icynene licensed spray foam insulation companies in your area, to find out more about how spray foam insulation can contribute towards creating a NetZero home.