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A Zero Energy Design
This is a home we have designed to be a Zero Energy Home
This home was designed for a client in New York state. While it is not a truly small home, it nonetheless makes very good use of well established Green principles to work toward Zero Energy use. Below, you will see some of the design we have done for this home.
Solar Orientation
We oriented this home to face due south. In addition, we used properly designed overhangs. We have done solar studies for this home that show that on the Summer Solstice, no sun comes into the south facing windows, while on the Winter Solstice, the sun fills the entire south facing windows for maximum solar gain. This helps to ensure that this home will be very economical to heat and cool. Homes designed this way can often, by this step alone, reduce their energy use by up to 20%!
You may notice that it has several west facing windows. These are placed in this position to take advantage of the spectacular views to the west. This would not normally be a good Green Design Element. However, through the judicious use of specific High Performance windows, we are able to significantly reduce the effects of the normally hot afternoon sun.
Energy Conservation
This home use ICF's, or Insulated Concrete Forms for the frost walls, or perimeter of the foundation. The foundation slab, or floor will be very well insulated with continuous insulation under the slab. This design will make for very high energy efficiency.
The home is also designed to use what are called SIP's, or Structural Insulated Panels for the walls and roof. These make for a very tight and well insulated home. They also make for virtually no "thermal bridging", that is heat loss through what would normally be less insulated portions of a typical "energy efficient" home. Since the framing of a typical home might occupy up to 20% of the walls or roof, this step alone can make a significant difference in a home's energy bill.
The windows are not your standard "energy efficient" windows. They are High Performance Windows designed specifically for this climate, and for their particular position in the home. While they cost only a little more than standard windows, they will more than make up for any added cost by literally paying back their owners very quickly in significantly reduced energy costs, as well as helping to provide a more comfortable home for those who will be living there. These windows are more efficient than most "energy efficient" walls.
Water Use
This home is designed to use Water Sense plumbing fixtures for very low water use. This means that toilets will be HET, or High Efficiency Toilets, designed to use very little water to eliminate waste. Shower heads will be 1.5 gallon per minute units. This means they use only 60% of the water that standard shower heads use. Imagine the impact on energy bills of using 40% less hot water for showers! Other faucets likewise will use much less water than the normal "energy efficient" home.

Copyright 2012 Ronald Sauve All Rights Reserved

This page was last modified on April 23, 2014

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