One thing that is common in all smart and technologically advanced homes is that they are all highly energy efficient. With the evolution of building codes and the change in consumer needs, the focus has shifted towards the conservation of energy.
New codes require builders to meet specific energy requirements that factor in efficiency. The domestic energy usage is greater than the manufacturing facilities in the United States in most sectors and that is why the codes are continuously being revised.
The goal is to bring the consumption down to zero and that too without adding a burden to the pockets of consumers. The solution is zero energy homes. Zero energy homes help you save money in more than one way.
ZERO ENERGY HOMES
Zero energy homes are like any other homes with the only difference being that they are regular grid-tied homes. Being well insulated, air-tight and energy efficient, they are capable of producing renewable energy equivalent to the amount of energy they consume over a year. This leaves the occupants with a carbon-free home and nets zero energy bills.
While trying to make zero energy homes more affordable, many companies are reducing the construction costs including labor and material costs of such houses in order to promote them. Through intelligent design and planning, all this was made possible.
THE EVOLUTION OF INDUSTRY STANDARDS OF ENERGY EFFICIENCY
In the United States, the building sector contributes 72 percent of electricity usage and 36 percent of national greenhouse emissions. To reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions, policies and movements towards stricter energy codes are being initiated. Proponents of the code claim that owners can get returns on their investment with a few years of implementation. Some of the recent innovations in order to achieve efficiency include:
HEATING AND COOLING EQUIPMENT
The houses built initially under this subdivision included gas furnaces and air conditioners. Cooling and heating loads were reduced by 75% due to shell efficiency measures and design changes. These changes include a ducted mini-split heat pump capable of producing more energy while at the same time-saving costs, cutting consumption and improving users comfort.
Cost effective and energy efficient technologies in the HVAC/Water Heating/Appliance sub program show that heating pumps have the potential to save up the conventional HVAC technologies in residential buildings. Many new heating pumps, advanced appliances, and heat exchanger technologies are incorporated in appliances such as dryers and refrigerators.
Non-vapor compression technologies are also being pursued which can easily replace the conventional technologies and reduce energy consumption and potentially put a pause on global warming.
The duct is a system used in heating and cooling your home – a collection of tubes that distribute the air in different rooms. The duct system is intended to supply rooms with conditioned air and circulate or return the same amount of air back to the HVAC equipment. Ducting is another way of reducing mechanical equipment costs which are more efficient, direct and less expensive than the typical ones.
WINDOWS AND BUILDING ENVELOPE
In order to make significant progress, next-generation technologies must place specific emphasis on achieving market-acceptable installation costs in order to enable mass-market adoption. Windows and buildings envelope focus on technologies including the use of high insulation materials and methods for the measurement and validation of the envelope performance. Many organizations are also responsible for certifying, rating and fenestration to inform consumers better.
Building Energy Modeling (BEM) is a versatile tool that serves multiple purposes such as in-code compliance, retrofit design, utility incentives and real time building control. It also supports larger scale energy development codes and policy decisions.
SENSORS AND CONTROLS R&D
Building energy management is improved using sensor controlled programs. Building operation conditions are also optimized through the development of fully automated and low-cost sensors that improve monitoring and data collection while controlling the use of energy in buildings. Another advantage is that building energy loads are effectively integrated with the rest of the grid and transactions outside the building envelope.
ADDITIONAL SAVING STRATEGIES
Intelligent design can result in a big impact and reduced material and labor cost. Advanced framing techniques, increased insulation and air sealing can reduce the need for solar electric panels, resulting in a net reduction of costs. It may involve more labor, equipment and material, but can result in savings that will offset those costs.
Efficient use and allocation of energy can not only drive your energy costs down, but also lower your bills with only a little effort. Many people are already saving on their monthly bills and you can join the league without investing a lot.