What is Net-Zero, and Why Is It Important?

By Liz Snyder and Matt Thomas, February 17, 2016

energy-efficient opening glass walls in Net-Zero building

Perhaps you have heard the term Net-Zero, and if not, you have likely heard the term "carbon footprint." You want to live responsibly and well. Today we are going to look at one way to make that happen, specifically: what is Net-Zero and why is it important?

First, What Is Net-Zero?

Essentially, Net-Zero means having zero carbon footprint in your home. That is, through the use of solar panels, your house produces as much energy as you consume. According to the U.S. government's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, there are four ways of defining what it means to have a Net-Zero home.

1. Your home produces as much energy as you consume.

2. The amount you produce equals what you consume including the cost of delivery (because some energy is lost along the way.)

3. Measured in terms of cost, the value of the amount of energy you produce equals the amount you would pay to the electric company.

4. Measured in terms of greenhouse emissions, the amount you produce offsets emissions resulting from the electricity you acquire.

NanaWall folding glass walls

However you measure it, Net-Zero requires producing energy and reducing energy consumption. In addition to installing solar panels, you can move closer to the goal of Net-Zero with architectural modifications, like those provided by NanaWall Systems. In the summer, the right architectural design can utilize natural, on-site heat sinks such as the night sky and the ground to keep your property cool. Likewise, on colder days you can take advantage of careful design to creative passive solar heating, turning your home into an effective greenhouse, eliminating the need for mechanical heat.

Why Is Net-Zero Important?

In some places, such as California, Net-Zero will soon be law - with ZNE (Zero Net Energy) set to become a requirement for all new residential properties in just a few years, in 2020, and a requirement in another ten years for all commercial properties as well. If you live in California, or one of the states which follows California's lead, this means Net-Zero may be the law already. Not only is it the law, but it is also a good idea.

Net-Zero building with NanaWall systems

Net-Zero allows you to do two very important things: reduce your electrical bill and help to preserve our environment. With a Net-Zero home, you will know you are making the world a better place for future generations, and that can make you feel better about your home here and now. Perhaps you read in the news about the Anthropocene Epoch, the official declaration that human-caused climate change has fundamentally altered the ecosystem. The time is now to work seriously towards more responsible use of the planet's resources. That is why states like California and nations across the world are taking serious measures to reduce humankind's effect on the natural world. That is also why, in addition to all of the above, investment in energy-saving measures is a sound investment to save you money and for potential resale value down the road. If you ever do decide to sell your home, you can know you have made a real and lasting change for the better.

To find out more about making your house a Net-Zero home in a safe and aesthetically pleasing manner, and for more information on how to improve your home's energy efficiency, contact us today and see what NanaWall can do for you.