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Net Zero Energy Certified

Yes, it is possible to have a home that generates as much energy as it uses. We are honored to be asked to join and participate in such an excellent organization as Net Zero Energy Certified. The goal of all designs is to provide sustainable energy sources to power all the needs in a home. It is not always possible to generate the exact amount of energy needed for a home at the moment the energy is needed; however, on an annualized basis the energy provided by the renewable energy sources should offset the total power needs of the home. The electric utility grid is used as a storage device so that when power can be generated it is and the xcess is put back into the grid for use later when the sun is not shining.

The Energy System For The Net Zero Energy Home:

•  Radiant heat with hydronic heat pump (heat)
•  Solar Thermal hot water system (hot water)
•  Solar Photovoltaic system (electricity)
•  High efficiency hot water tank (back up hot water/heat)

By integrating these systems the only energy needed from the utility is for back up hot water.

What is Net Zero Energy?
The goal of the California Public Utility Commission is at least 1/2 of all new homes in California to be Net Zero Energy by 2016. Net Zero Energy is the simple concept of your home producing the same or more energy than you consume on an annual basis. Net Zero Energy is accomplished with right combination of very efficient mechanical, lighting, building materials and appliance choices for a specific building matched with a properly sized solar electric system to achieve an annual Net Zero Energy equilibrium. Due to California and Federal incentives for solar electric and solar hot water and some new super efficient electric mechanical equipment, many new homes can become NZE certified in a very cost effective, cash positive manner without changing the style of your home or your lifestyle within it.

Types of Net Zero Energy Homes
Most new Net Zero Energy homes will be all electric. However, many people choose to use natural gas for cooking, fireplace log lighting or even space and domestic hot water space heating. In this case we upsize the solar electric system to account for the gas usage on a BTU for BTU basis. With California’s new feed in tariff program that pays home owners for producing excess energy, the gas approach can be cost effective.

How Much Solar Electric Required?
While your Architect may be enthusiastic about your new home being Net Zero Energy, they still want it to look great. Net Zero Energy Certified members understand the relationship between insulation levels, glass performance, HVAC specifications, lighting design, appliance selection and area needed for solar panels. The more efficient the house, the smaller the area required for solar energy production. Very early in the NZE Certified process your architect will need to know how many square feet of solar panels will be required for the project and very likely your architect will have creative ideas of how to accommodate the solar panels without compromising the design. The panels can be roof, ground or trellis mounted, need to face south and not in the shade between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm on December 21. Here are some recent NZE Certified projects and how many square feet of solar electric was required. Keep in mind that NZE certified has developed a much more complete ratio matrix of home square footage/ solar electric panel square footage which will be employed when you submit a project for a free appraisal.

Sq. Ft. of house

Sq. Ft. of solar required

1500 (new, standard eff.)

350

2000 (remodel, standard eff.)

420

2900 (new, standard eff.)

540

4000 (part time res.)

360

4500 (new & very eff)

720

8200 (new, stand eff.)

1600

Energy Generation

Solar Electric System
The linchpin of a Net Zero Energy home is the solar electric system. We are pleased to work in partnership with manufacturers, distributors and installers of solar electric systems and encourage their participation in our sponsor/Member program for promoting their services. Our job is to size the solar electric system in relation to the home loads. In most cases, the solar electric system will be significantly larger than normal because a Net Zero Energy home is serving the electrical needs of the whole house. NZE certified will work with the home designer to accommodate the most aesthetically appealing location of the solar panels for the end user.

Solar Hot Water
When employed in a Net Zero Energy home, a solar hot water system is displacing electrical load, so the solar hot water system works in concert with a solar electric system by reducing the need for more solar electric panels. Because solar hot water panels collect solar energy more efficiently that solar electric panels, the use of solar hot water is highly recommended in Net Zero Energy homes.

Energy Conservation
Every Net Zero Energy Certified building will be designed with the most efficient and cost effective insulation, infiltration techniques, windows, lighting and appliances and HVAC and hot water systems to significantly lower the electrical load of the building. Remember, extra electrical load means more money and space for solar.

HVAC

Heat Pumps:
To achieve a Net Zero Energy building it is necessary to use electric HVAC heat, cooling and hot water generation solutions that solar electric can offset without carbon production. There are newly introduced reliable, super efficient technologies that can reduce the electric space conditioning and hot water generation to a point where solar electric can cost effectively generate sufficient energy annually to meet Net Zero Energy goals.

Air to Water Heat Pumps
There is a new generation of air to water heat pumps, widely used in Europe, but just introduced to America that provide extremely efficient performance for heating, cooling and hot water generation. This technology has been a missing link for integrated Net Zero Energy solutions.

Geothermal Heat Pumps
We have successfully used geothermal heat pumps in Net Zero Energy projects and Geothermal heat pumps provide efficiencies slightly higher than air to water heat pumps but the extra expense for ground loops makes them cost prohibitive in most residential applications.

Air to Air Heat Pumps
Super high SEER air to air heat pumps are available are now available. However they do not supply super efficient hot water generation that is so often key to a cost effective Net Zero Energy solution.

Water Heater Heat Pumps
A new generation of heat pump water heaters are entering the market which can match up with air to air heat pumps for a complete solution. At this point there are no cost effective models that provide an annual COP exceeding 2. The hydronic heat pumps are twice as efficient thus being the optimal choice at this time.

Windows
Title 24 in California has driven the race for ever more efficient and cost effective windows to the point where standard Energy Star windows are very effective. While in certain projects more efficient windows may be called for, codes have already driven the market to cost effective solutions.

Lighting
Net Zero Energy Certified will work with the client and/or the lighting designer to provide the optimal mix of efficiency, cost and execution of the lighting design goals.

Appliances
NZE Certified will specify only Energy Star appliances within certain performance parameters. The Architect and client must select specific appliances that will meet their personal requirements.

 
 
Our commitment to our clients:

• Since 1977 over 95% of our clients are
from referrals.
• Our response time on service requests or project estimates is unmatched.
• Over 85% of all service calls are completed
on the first visit because of our extensive vehicle inventories.
• Projects are completed on time and on budget.

We maintain an active database of your account so our dispatcher knows:
 
- Who the preferred technician is.
- Who the onsite contact person.
- Roof access issues.
- Special account handling requirements.

This database saves you money and dramatically improves the level of
service to you.

 
 
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