A net zero energy-efficient building uses the latest technological advances in building systems that produce as much renewable energy as they consume throughout the year. Well insulated and tightly built residential and commercial properties that take advantage of innovative designs utilizing energy-efficient, sustainable features result in net zero energy bills in a carbon-free environment.

It has never been easier to take the steps necessary to create a net zero building. More homes and businesses are taking advantage of energy and money saving techniques net zero construction and remodeling projects offer. Similarly, more commercial buildings than ever are realizing the need to go green and help protect the atmosphere, with Chicago offering the greenest commercial real estate in the U.S, with a staggering 71.1 percent of its space ‘green certified’. From the design and construction stages to selecting appliances and window shades, decisions based on the conservation of energy will create a residential or commercial property that saves more energy than it uses.

Net Zero Buildings Save Energy & Money

Net Zero Building
Image Credit – asiagreenbuildings.com

As the benefits of net zero energy sustainable construction methods began to emerge, the accessibility of energy-saving systems and materials increased while the costs became more manageable.

Common steps to take for creating an energy-efficient net zero building include:

1. Insulation

Net Zero Building
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An effective way to control the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool your property is to construct solid exterior walls to keep the outside elements outside. ICF walls significantly reduce the amount of energy needed to control the temperature inside your home or business.

Fully insulated roofs, attics, and floors will allow your heating and cooling systems to work more efficiently with monthly and yearly cost benefits.

2. Renewable Energy

Net Zero Building
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Renewable energy, or clean energy, uses natural resources such as the sun or wind to power the operational systems in your home or business. The two most commonly used renewable energy sources to provide electricity for residential and commercial properties are solar and wind.

·        Solar Energy: Solar panel systems harness the power of the sun to generate electricity used for a variety of purposes. Solar energy does not create pollution or greenhouse gases.

·        Wind Energy: Wind turbines feed electric generators to produce the cheapest energy source for much of the United States. Turbines can be erected nearly anywhere, including in open water.

3. Energy-Efficient Systems

Net Zero Building
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With your structure fully insulated and drawing electricity from renewable energy sources, the operating systems you use should also use as little energy as possible to run. Today’s environmentally-aware marketplace offers a wide range of energy-saving options for HVAC systems, electronics, and appliances.

To get the best return on your investment in creating a net zero energy building, install a modern heating and cooling system that runs efficiently and adheres to energy-saving guidelines. Regular maintenance will help all systems run smoothly and efficiently throughout the year. For example, regularly changing air filters and powering down electronics, not in use can add up to big savings and help to tip the scales towards net zero efficiency and the reduced costs that come with it.

4. Dampers and Sunshades    

Net Zero Building
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The use of residential and commercial HVAC dampers and sunshades can help to maximize the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. Controlling the airflow through your ducts and using sunlight to your efficiency needs can help reduce running costs.

Dampers are movable plates that help to regulate the flow of air through your HVAC ductwork, redirecting it to different areas of the property. Dampers come in various sizes for use in volume control, backdraft, pressure relief, fan outlet, isolation, and many more applications.

Sunshades come in a wide range of shapes and colors to provide additional protection and control of the amount of sunlight allowed into your property. Sunshades can be customized to fit your specifications and preferences.

Editorial Contributors
Alora Bopray

Alora Bopray

Staff Writer

Alora Bopray is a digital content producer for the home warranty, HVAC, and plumbing categories at Today's Homeowner. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of St. Scholastica and her master's degree from the University of Denver. Before becoming a writer for Today's Homeowner, Alora wrote as a freelance writer for dozens of home improvement clients and informed homeowners about the solar industry as a writer for EcoWatch. When she's not writing, Alora can be found planning her next DIY home improvement project or plotting her next novel.

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Roxanne Downer


Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes & Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

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