Zero Energy Home Design
U.S. Department Of Energy
A Zero Energy Home (ZEH) combines state-of-the-art, energy-efficient construction and appliances with commercially available renewable energy systems, such as solar water heating and solar electricity. The combination results in a home that produces its own energy—as much or more than it needs. Even though the home might be connected to a utility grid, it has net zero energy consumption from the utility provider.
Zero Energy Homes optimize and include the following design features:
- Climate-specific design
- Passive solar heating and cooling
- Energy-efficient construction
- Energy-efficient appliances and lighting
- Solar water heating system
- Small solar electric system.
These homes have a number of advantages:
- Improved comfort—an energy-efficient building envelope reduces temperature fluctuations
- Reliability—a Zero Energy Home can be designed to continue functioning even during blackouts
- Energy security—a home that produces energy protects its owner from fluctuations in energy prices
- Environmental sustainability—a Zero Energy Home saves energy and reduces pollution
The U.S. Department of Energy has partnered with building professionals and organizations to further develop the Zero Energy Homes concept. To date, only a few prototype Zero Energy Homes have been constructed and researched.