Net Zero-Energy Homes And My Future Living

1-nisttesthousI missed this news when it was released last week, but stumbled upon it thanks to mention of it at CauseScience. July 1 marked the one-year anniversary of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) net zero-energy test house, which ended up performing better than expected and created a surplus of energy, despite this recent rough, awful, no-good, rotten winter.

The 2,700 square-foot (252-square-meter) test house is built to U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum standards—the highest standard for sustainable structures. Its features include energy-efficient construction and appliances, as well as energy-generating technologies, such as solar water heating and a solar photovoltaic system.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-nist-house-goal-year-energy.html#jCp
The 2,700 square-foot (252-square-meter) test house is built to U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum standards—the highest standard for sustainable structures. Its features include energy-efficient construction and appliances, as well as energy-generating technologies, such as solar water heating and a solar photovoltaic system.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-nist-house-goal-year-energy.html#jCp
The 2,700 square-foot (252-square-meter) test house is built to U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum standards—the highest standard for sustainable structures. Its features include energy-efficient construction and appliances, as well as energy-generating technologies, such as solar water heating and a solar photovoltaic system.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-nist-house-goal-year-energy.html#jCp
The 2,700 square-foot (252-square-meter) test house is built to U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum standards—the highest standard for sustainable structures. Its features include energy-efficient construction and appliances, as well as energy-generating technologies, such as solar water heating and a solar photovoltaic system.Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-nist-house-goal-year-energy.html#jCp

This development is certainly encouraging for future construction efforts, and provides a nice test case for why adoption of solar power in not only feasible but a necessity. In fact, as the original article from phys.org notes, California has made it mandatory that all newly constructed homes must be net-zero energy ready by 2020. However, the NIST home was built to be 60% more efficient than current standards.

The 2,700 square-foot (252-square-meter) test house is built to U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum standards—the highest standard for sustainable structures. Its features include energy-efficient construction and appliances, as well as energy-generating technologies, such as solar water heating and a solar photovoltaic system.

....

In terms of energy consumed per unit of living space—a measure of energy-use intensity—the NIST test house is calculated to be almost 70 percent more efficient than the average house in Washington, D.C., and nearby states.

This NIST home represents a bit of a long-term goal my wife and I have in terms of future remodeling projects with our own home.

Due to the increasing cost of living and the pervasiveness of corporate profiteering heartily infringing upon those of modest livelihoods (like ours), the long-term goal is to go as off-grid as much as possible. While we likely won't get to the extent of fellow sci-fi author Michael Bunker, I think we can at least make an impact in our own daily living and make a conscious effort toward not only energy and environmental conservation, but on lessening our reliance on corporate dependency for our energy needs.

I think it's important to be a good steward on this planet, and we all know (or at least we should know!) that fossil fuels are finite. They are a way of the past. There are better ways of doing things, for ourselves, for our planet, for our society. Mostly, it's just important to not be an ignorant asshole about these types of things.

See this article on "Coal Rollers," as pictured below, or this piece at HuffPo for a good example of what being an ignorant asshole is like. Maybe we should call them Open Coalers?

conservatives-are-purposely-making-their-cars-spew-black-smoke-to-protest-obama-and-environmentalists

Already we've taken some small steps to reduce our energy bill and energy consumption. We bought our house nearly five years ago.Constructed in the early 80s, pretty much everything in it was the original thirty-plus year old model, except for the water heater, which was probably a solid 15 years old and in need of replacing.

We bought new triple-pane windows, replaced the furnace and HVAC, and replaced the water heater and installed a tank booster. We've also bought an energy-efficient washer and dryer, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Our next step is to have the house resided and new insulation installed, and then get a new roof and attic fan. After that, we'll be looking into fitting the house with solar panels and getting our house off the grid. We're probably a solid 10 or 15 years away from achieving all this, but I do think we'll get there. And by the time we're financially ready for it, the technology will only have improved.

I also want to look into buying an electric lawnmower (and plenty of back up batteries, since we have a sizable yard) in the next couple of years, since that's just one more gas guzzler and oil hog I can get rid of. It should also help save my hearing and reduce the noise pollution to boot!

Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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