The way we look at it is that if the house has no energy bills, it might as well be called a house that pays your bills. This Net Zero home in New Jersey, uses as much energy as it makes. It has no utility bills and it is (almost) entirely self sufficient.
Some criticized Ed, the home owner, saying “OK he got to the point where he’s not using any energy but he spent all this money to get there, it might as well be considered “a wash.””
However, as Ed explains himself, fact is, you’re spending this money whether you want to or not. Do you want to give the money to a solar company once or keep giving it to your utility company who will be raising prices till the end of time?
Things make great sense financially as well environmentally. All investments made on the house have 10-15% ROI and all systems pay for themselves 100% within 2-8 years. Here is a summary of the main sustainability features and the video below:
- Energy Star appliances light bulbs.
- Well insulated thermal envelope.
- Solar thermal evacuated tubes supply 80% of hot water.
- Tankless electric water heater.
- Geothermal heating.
- Solar PV fully supplies the needs of the house and also charges an electric car. The house produces as much power as Ed’s family uses, and any extra is given to the grid and bought back in the winter in the form of a credit.
- Converted all tools to run on electricity (no oil, no gas, no loud noises, cost nothing to use (except for the grill and coock-top in the kitchen still uses gas but the usage is tiny).
- Added additional structure with passive design principles.