Net Zero House – 4 Tips for Design & Construction

I want to talk to you about a house that I built that's gone Net Zero this house behind me is one that my company built with local architects Scot ginder of Forge craft architecture and design and there's really four things that we did on this house that got us the net zero so let me give you the how to behind the scenes on it really how we got there the first thing that we did on this house was we really focused on design it's incredibly important to hire an architect that understands how their design is going to impact the energy efficiency of the house Scott did a really good job of designing a beautiful house that really is arc it's actually very striking it's not particularly large house this is about a 2,000 square foot house so he kept it compact he really designed the spaces to work well and the other thing he did was he limited the amount of glass that he used on this house you know if you think about glass it's typically about our two for a square foot of glass and if you compare that to his walls or as roofline that are super insulated you really need to limit the amount of glass that you're going to use in your houses the second thing that we did on this house was we focused on air sealing you know air sealing has been kind of the stepchild to insulation for many years but as the Passivhaus standard from Germany has starting to take hold here in America I think more and more builders have realized but it makes a big difference than not have that air leaking into my house the third thing we did was really very insulated walls and roof line we used to bust six advanced framing on this house and on the outside of those walls we use 3/4 of an inch of rigid foam at the roof line we used open-cell spray foam to make a conditioned attic and then on top of that we've got two inches of rigid foam on the roof deck and then our TPO roof the fourth thing we did was really focus on the design of the mechanical systems no matter where you are in the country your HVAC system typically accounts for about 50% of your energy use so really getting a great design on your mechanicals making sure your especially your air conditioning and this hot humid climate of ours in Texas is designed well and not over design that's very important we work with the folks at positive energy here in Austin to ensure a really very good design we also utilized Mitsubishi's vrf variable refrigerant flow technology so we've got really top-of-the-line mechanicals on this house lastly we added the or sales as you can see we've got a 7.2 kW system on this house to get us the net zero we covered a decent amount on the roof on this house and the thing I like about adding solar later like we did on this house this solar can really be bolted on to just about any house if you think about it ahead of time in the design phase so we did the air sealing we did the insulation we designed it well we put in good mechanicals and Scott actually added the solar after the fact on this house let's go inside and show you a few more things that we did on this house to get us the Net Zero I'm with Scott inside the foyer of this house and he's going to give us another tip on how to get to Net Zero 20% of a home's annual electric usage is devoted to heating up hot water we can reduce that and get closer to Net Zero by installing a heat pump water heater yeah Scott these are great especially for houses in the southern US we're taking the air out of the house and it's heat we're dumping that into the tank to make hot water and the byproduct of that process goes into that silver duct right there we're talking about cool dehumidified air which is dumping into the kitchen and the big benefit is we're talking about Net Zero is that these are going to use one-third less electricity than a standard electric tank I'm at one of the other reasons why I like this heat pump water heater is it's very quiet it's running right now it's making hot water it's blowing cool air into the other room and it makes less noise and your typical air conditioner these are great units if you'd like more information on heat pump water heaters or the other ways that we got to Net Zero visit my blog at Matt Reisinger calm otherwise we'll see you next time you

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