The road to net zero is an ambitious and much-need one. But are some of the deadlines realistic? And perhaps more importantly when will we truly see the widespread rise of net-zero homes?
At its core, net zero is the aim to be negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity. Quite simply, it is the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere, thus equating to net zero. For many the ambition is to have global net emissions of carbon dioxide to reach net zero by 2050.
Many homebuilders, in particular, are taking the step to build more energy-efficient homes, with many also aiming to build net-zero homes. Let’s dig into one case study.
As an example, Clayton unveiled its first net-zero electricity home to the public at the 2022 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb.
Taking a tour inside shows many of the energy-efficient features that homeowners have come to expect in homes today and some new innovations for the future. Features in the home include Energy Star appliances, LED lights, Lux windows with argon, 22-21-50 insulation package, and an ecobee smart thermostat.
Additional upgrades, not currently offered through Clayton, include CertainTeed Solar shingles and Benjamin Moore low-VOC paint. This net-zero electricity home costs just under $230,000 before the cost of land and solar panels. With all of these upgrades combined, the home produces enough electricity to power itself.
I applaud Clayton and all the builders that are taking a step toward greater sustainability in the home and to net zero as well. Still, there are still some hurdles on the road to net zero that we must still overcome.
Peggy Smedley has written in-depth about her experience with solar, and says that, “Electrical output of a solar panel is dependent on orientation, efficiency, latitude, and climate—solar gain varies even at same latitude.” This has always been my concern, living in an area where the sun doesn’t regularly shine six months out of the year. Still, I am seeing a rise of solar even in my own neighborhood.
And then, of course, there is the cost of solar. While the technology is becoming more advanced, in many cases the price is still a bit out of reach for today’s average homeowner.
What are you seeing? What technologies are most adopted and wanted by today’s homeowners on the road to net zero? In what ways are builders creating greater sustainability in the home?
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