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  • Melissa Deaver

How to Design a Net-Zero Home

Clean energy is on the rise, and many individuals are looking for ways to offset their energy consumption completely. What is a net-zero home and how does one accomplish this? Read on to find out!

What is a Net-Zero Home?

A net-zero home produces the same amount of energy it consumes annually. If you're hoping to acheive this with your home, you'll need to maximize production of energy and maximize efficiency of your consumption.

The first step in becoming a net-zero home is to get an energy audit. Hire a professional to come to your home and identify areas that could use weatherization, which could save you hundreds of dollars a year. In addition to weatherization recommendations, the professional will guide you in other areas of your home that can be upgraded.

Many local utilities will provide an energy audit on your home for free! Our most prominent utility in our area, MidAmerican Energy, provides many tools to assist you on your clean energy journey. They also offer a few different rebates and discounts for energy efficient equipment. Click here to learn more.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes a tax credit for up to $1,200 (annually) for weatherization and $150 for performing an energy audit. Find more information on those rebates here.

The second step in becoming a net-zero home is to upgrade your appliances and address other areas of your home that consume a lot of energy. Upgrading to electric appliances will make a world of difference right off the bat. Keep a look out for Energy Star rated products, as these will save you on average 25%-50% versus older models.

Weatherization could include installing more energy efficient windows, doors and skylights. Look for Energy Star rated products. Seal ducts should be insulated properly, and if they are not, you could be losing up to 60% of your heated air before it reaches the register.

Other areas to think about include lighting, water heaters, heating and cooling systems, and overal insulation.

The third step in becoming a net-zero home is to install solar panels with battery storage. A home cannot be truly net-zero unless it produces its own energy. You'll want to build a system that will cover more than 100% of your energy usage. Coupling these panels with a solar battery will allow you to utilize the excess energy you stored during the day. The key to net-zero home living is that your consumption and production will equal out over the course of a year. Find a trusted solar installation company to size a system properly for your home.

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