Is this home net zero energy?

What does "net zero energy" mean?

We use the US Department of Energy's definition: a net-zero energy building produces as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. Net-zero energy buildings are very energy efficient, but they do require energy.  This power typically comes from on-site renewable energy (such as solar photovoltaic panels) along with grid tied power.



How do we figure out if the building could be net zero?

​First, we create an energy model which estimates the buildings energy needs. According to 311 Varnum's energy model, this building is designed to use ~40% of the energy of a code built home.  The energy model also estimates that a ~8kw PV array on the roof would produce enough energy to provide all the buildings energy needs on a net zero basis.


So, is this building net zero?

​Short answer: no, it's not.  Solar panels were not in the budget for this house. 

But, could this home BE net zero?

However, with the addition of solar panels and an energy conscious owner, we believe this building has the potential to be net zero.  In addition to all the energy efficiency features described on this website, we have also done our best to make this house solar ready so that when the time comes the costs are minimized for the owner.  This includes:


>  conduit installed from roof to panel in preparation for wiring

>  slots left in the breaker panel for the solar


If living in a net zero home has been your dream, we've given you serious tools to help get you there.

THE BIG DISCLAIMER:  Energy models are just that: models.  They are not guarantee of actual performance.  Moreover, energy use is very user dependent.  Some people use a lot, some use a little...because of this neither True Turtle nor CAT Consulting will not provide any guarantees that net zero energy is possible in 311 Varnum.  However, given the energy model, it appears achievable.  In fact, neither True Turtle nor CAT Consulting guarantees any specific energy performance of this building in any way, shape or form.  We realize this will be disappointing for some, however, given we cannot predict who, or even how many people will reside in this home there is no way for us to guarantee how much energy will be used.