These homes go by a handful of different names including zero-energy home building, zero-net (or net-zero) energy building, or zero-carbon home building, but they all mean exactly the same thing. Which is this: The building is designed to generate enough renewable energy onsite to completely offset its energy consumption needs. There are a couple wrinkles to this concept, which we’ll get to in a minute, but there’s no need to get confused by the carousel of names. They all mean a home or building that generates as much renewable energy as it consumes.
ELECTRICAL GRID INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENERGY OFFSETS
The single biggest wrinkle about what constitutes a zero-energy home build is whether or not the property is connected to an electrical grid and in such a way that allows surplus renewable energy production to be fed back into the electrical grid. Homes that aren’t connected to a modern grid or ones that are built entirely off-the-grid—and we have more than a few of these in the more mountainous regions of the state—these homes don’t have this advantage. Thus, the energy generation and storage must accommodate periods of peak use and higher energy needs. The good news is that between portable and compatible home energy storage batteries and by commonsense rationing of major home energy appliances, this type of off-the-grid zero energy home build is more plausible and affordable than ever.
ZERO ENERGY HOME BUILDERS IN COLORADO
From Accent to Zola, there are 34 home building and residential construction companies in Colorado that have completed qualified projects, according to the Zero Energy Project. This organization also provides business directory information for designers, realtors, auditors and consultants in the state. This performance usually isn’t the only factor that goes into choosing a builder or major residential contractor, so it’s good to know that there is more than one option for most projects.