Is it time to revamp the lingo around zero energy? Philip Beere from GCOMM360 and Dave Everson from Mandalay Homes say yes.
Dave Everson, CEO of Mandalay Homes and a recognized leader for home building innovation, says it is time to revamp the renewable energy model by designing for the grid—not net-metering. This means redefining how we talk about zero energy.
Zero energy is when the total amount of energy used by a home on an annual basis is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on-site. It should not be confused with energy efficiency or less environmental impact. Meaning if one loads a rooftop full of solar panels, any house can achieve zero energy. When excessive solar panels are installed, more energy will be generated than required to operate it—sometimes resulting in grid overload and a negative impact on the environment.
Zero Energy vs. Zero Energy Ready
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy launched its Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program. The goal? To design a home to reduce its energy demand as much as possible, making it zero energy ready. In turn, very little solar is necessary to achieve zero energy compared with homes built to code minimum. A recent report by the Rocky Mountain Institute makes the case for zero energy ready homes, citing that it increases costs by as little as 1%.
Solar salespeople sometimes use “zero energy” to capitalize on incentives and sell homeowners solar panels with the potential of “selling” energy back to the utility. On the other hand, the DOE and its ZERH program use zero energy to advocate a better built home that uses less energy to operate, improved indoor air quality, less water use, and lower environmental impact.
Selling solar panels to customers on the premise of zero energy sometimes results in the adverse effect of net-metering, the anti-green effect, a cost shift, and grid overload. Read More