Should You Build A Zero Energy Ready Home?

A Zero Energy Ready Home is a high-performance home that is so energy-efficient that all or most of it’s annual energy consumption can be offset by renewable energy.

Your local climate zone will affect the choice of components, however listed below are some generally accepted guidelines for the construction of this type of high performance home:

* R60+      Ceiling Insulation
* R35+      Exterior Wall Insulation
* R30        Exterior Below Grade Wall Insulation
* R10+      Under Slab Insulation
* Triple Pane Windows
* Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) System
* 0.6-1.0    Air Changes/Hour @ 50 Pascals
* 35-40      HERS Rating

If you build a home to these spec’s your annual energy consumption is projected to be low enough to be offset by renewable energy sources, if you so choose to install those at some time down the road.

Costs vary but it’s generally accepted you should likely budget to spend about $20-$25 per sq ft more to build this type of high performance envelope. Thus, for a 2,200 sq ft home this premium, fully financed at today’s interest rates, would add about $200 – $260/mth to your monthly mortgage payment.

This monthly premium would of course be offset by your perpetually and dramatically reduced heating and cooling bills (approx. 60-65% lower) and, of course, the best part is the aspiration that your family will lead happier, healthier and more contented lives living in a high performance home that works better, lives better and lasts better.

Plus, you will have the benefit of knowing that your single biggest investment, your family home, will always be legal per building code!

You should be aware there are risk management issues that present themselves when you build a high performance home. See the chart below. You’ll notice that insulated concrete forms minimize these risks. (Darker colors represent more risk)

Risk Management ICF slide cropped