Taking the House Down to Net Zero Energy

Net Zero Certification Logo.As I plan my new home, all the possibilities and options available for creating a net-zero energy home race through my mind. These thoughts have been with me since the very beginning of this, when the cottage in the woods was just a nebulous concept decades ago. With all the changes in modern home building technology, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way about what really works and what was a pipe dream, I’ve had many ideas to consider. It is now time to make final decisions as the construction commences.

A net zero approach to construction starts with the beginning where we figure the products filling the voids of the wall cavity, plus the exterior sealing of the outside surface, along with the sealing interior face of the stud space. At this point in time, we are looking to spraying the entire exterior plywood sheeting with an asphaltic emulsion material, backed up by the interior spray of closed cell foam, flushed out by a blow-in batt of fiberglass.

We haven’t made a determination concerning window manufacturers, but I acknowledge this is super important. Because of the multiple construction issues connected with replacing windows later, a high performance unit is mandatory. Also because we anticipate passive cooling during the summer, ventilating units are necessary. This causes me to think about moving air throughout the home. We don’t have an air handler (furnace) connected with this home. We will have ceiling mounted big blade fans turning slowly, moving the air. Moist air out of the baths and laundry, with an energy recovery unit to exhaust the air outside, and bring fresh air in.

Remember I’m living in the woods. I love the forest aroma. There is a possibly of utilizing a ductless heat pump in the west end of the home.

We will be employing raised heel trusses at the lowered sections of the perimeter eves to get the full height of fiberglass blow-in at the ceilings. Our previous experience in attaining a silver rating in the Earth Advantage Program, was the ceiling we where all the problems of air leakage originated. Not again.

We have selected an Avalon Wood Burning stove as the center piece of our Great Room. With its pleasing detail resolution, with enamel color variation, I’m thinking we’ve made a solid choice. For its ability to heat 2000 square feet, hold a fire for 12 hours, and still be 75% efficient, pretty good, huh?

Image copyright International Living Future Institute Net Zero Energy Building Certification

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