We Design Homes, Buildings and Cities
With NO Energy Bills!
According to Niels Wolter, Sustainable Living Consultant:
“The average single family home in Wisconsin (where winters are extreme) consumes 10,000 kWh per year of electricity, or about 1 kWh every hour of the year. That average home also consumes 100,000 cubic feet of natural gas – primarily for space and water heating. Energy prices to heat and power the home would cost about $1,200/year for electricity and $1240/year for natural gas or $2440/year total.
At current rates, electricity and gas bills alone will cost the homeowner almost $50,000 over the home’s first twenty years (IF the price never increases in the future). If energy prices increase at 8 percent each year, the homeowner will pay over $120,000 for energy during the home’s first 20 years, and over $150,000 if energy prices increase at a rate of 10 percent per year.”
When you are looking at the price of a new home, be sure to add the amount you will spend for energy to the “total cost of ownership.” For perhaps $20,000 (+/-) more than the price of a conventional home, an intelligent Zero Energy Home buyer can essentially ELIMINATE utility bills for more than 25 years (until a far superior renewable energy technology becomes available at a much lower price).
There are federal and state tax credits, grants and incentive programs for the Zero Energy Designed® Home, to help defray the additional initial additional expense. The added mortgage payment will be much smaller than the utility bills that are eliminated. Special Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) programs now exist that recognize the higher initial investment required to eliminate ZEH monthly utility bills. Mortgage interest is tax deductible; energy bills are not. You will have periodic operating costs, like paint, landscaping, and battery replacement costs, but overall, the Zero Energy Home will be more comfortable, since energy austerity will NOT be required in the future. The Zero Energy Home Design will be a better investment, with a higher resale value than a conventional home. The shortsighted “low cost” home will be by far the most expensive “total cost of ownership.” Do not even consider a conventional high-energy inefficient home, when superior ZED homes can be built for only a slightly higher initial investment. Your total monthly payments will be less the very first month you move in. How difficult is that to understand?
Obviously, there is no simple answer to this question. Take a look at the new homes in your area. Find the type of amenities you would like in your new home, and discover the going cost per square foot for the quality you desire. That is a baseline starting point for a rough estimate of a new ZED home..
The price for materials like plywood has more than doubled, due in part to sending much of what we produce in American overseas. Concrete, electrical, plumbing, roofing, paint, etc. have all seen significant price increases. If a builder can profitably sell nice new homes in your area for $150 to $250 per square foot (or whatever), then a new ZED home should be similarly priced. If you live in a low cost of living area, it should be less. If you lot cost a million dollars, then a home built on it will cost a lot more.
Here are some things that will be differently priced on a new Zero Energy Designed® Home. If you would like a passive solar greenhouse on the south side, you need a good view to the south (preferably the back yard, or front of the house). A solarium can cost MUCH less per square foot than the interior living quarters of your home. Empty square footage costs much less than kitchens and bathrooms. I like large comfortable rooms, when a home buyer can afford them. Large rooms can make the AVERAGE cost per square foot of your home go down.
Appraisers are starting to recognize the added value of certified Energy Efficient Homes. Depending on the Zero Energy Home features that you select, some things may cost less, and others will surely cost more. You may not need a conventional central air conditioner, which can save thousands of dollars. If you require an auxiliary back up air conditioner, it will of smaller size than those used on conventional homes. If you want an absorption chiller, there will be a price to be paid for the innovative nature of a low-volume product, until production volumes increase significantly. If you want solar hot water, or photovoltaic solar electric power for off-the-grid living, there will be several thousand dollars of additional capital investment required.
You may qualify for tax credits, government subsidies and an ( EEM) Energy Efficient Mortgage, which can help offset thousands of dollars of Zero Energy Home active solar energy equipment expense. It will not be free, but the incremental cost will be less than the cost of conventional home monthly utility bills (which average roughly $2,000 year and up for larger homes). And remember, mortgage interest is tax deductible, whereas energy bills are not. This precise construction cost difference will probably be a small increased percentage for a high-quality Zero Energy Home, but typically not more than very roughly $10,000 to $20,000 (perhaps 5%), for a medium 3 bedroom home (with utility company backup), compared to a conventional home with similar amenities, like a swimming pool, etc.
The Overwhelming Majority of Today’s Myopic New Home Buyers PREFER(?) to Purchase the VERY WORST Homes Allowed by LAW.
Florida energy comes from expensive imported sources: roughly 40% petroleum, 40% coal, some nuclear and gas. Florida is rapidly growing as many new residents arrive every year – about 1,400 EVERY DAY. The construction of new power plants is very expensive (about $3 BILLION for some of them).
If electric company business-as-usual prevails, there will continue to be huge increases in the price of energy in Florida (and many other growth areas around the nation), just to build and fuel these expensive new power plants and the extremely inefficient aging power grid energy distribution infrastructure.
The high expense of a power plant for new residents must be shared equally by all existing area consumers, so the problem impacts everyone on the (sometimes unreliable, over committed, antiquated) power grid. The record high temperatures of recent Global Warming trends are also creating unprecedented nationwide peak load demands on the aging power grid. The record temperatures are not evenly distributed, but they are sweeping back and forth across the nation as typical weather patterns undergo significant change.
Because of the need to minimize the projected requirement to expand rapid growth area energy supply, and the desire to minimize annual damage from the increasingly powerful hurricanes that regularly strike Florida, the state has some of the tightest building codes in the nation. These “minimal legislated standards” represent the WORST buildings that are legally allowed to be built in Florida.
Florida Power and Light Company published a field research study (conducted by the University of Central Florida, Florida Solar Energy Center) as a Report to the Florida Public Service Commission. It showed that the AVERAGE actual energy efficiency of new Florida homes BARELY met Florida's minimum building code requirements. Nearly half of new Florida homes did NOT meet the WORST legally allowed new home standards.
Florida building code compliance is NOT uniformly enforced. Nearly half of the hundreds of the documented field-study homes failed to conform to the standards submitted by the builder to the building code official for permitting purposes, yet no one was punished or held accountable for criminal malpractice.
You can make your own guess as to why this violation of state law is so common. Similar building inspection problems (corruption?) occur across America all of the time. Anyone in the construction industry is familiar with the “bribes” that are necessary for builders to NOT have to conform to tight building codes. Post mortem examination of structural failures and high-energy bills PROVE it is frequently true. Some of the less-cautious inspectors expect the bribes as part of their standard untaxed income, and they tell the builders what it will cost them to save the expense of conforming to the legal minimum building codes. The bribes are of course less expensive than conforming to tight building code, and the expense and safety of home buyers is essentially ignored by the minority of bad inspectors and bad penny-pinching builders.
I’ve seen it happen myself many times. I have NEVER paid such a bribe, and the inspectors become REALLY tough on me, which I think is just fine. I wish all builders would be so insistent on construction industry integrity. I often wind up teaching inspectors what they should be looking for to do their job properly. Top quality houses SHOULD far exceed the legal minimum building codes, in every aspect, and carefully supervised ZED homes always do. I strongly support making the building codes much stronger for everyone than they already are today. I’ll be glad to lead the way toward showing how to cost effectively build homes much better than the minimum legal standards are allowing today.
State and local governments receive hundreds of millions of dollars from public utility companies. If everyone shifted to Zero Energy Homes that need little or no net energy from power companies, state and local government revenues would significantly decline. If you were a “tax and spend” politician would YOU want your revenues to significantly decline? Energy inefficiency is rewarded by the growing bewildering bureaucracy. They do NOT want ZED to eliminate the need for utility companies that send large sums of money to inept politicians. Legislators cannot tax free energy from the sun.
Although state legislators and local building code creators make a false pretense of concern for the environment, and a desire to reduce energy consumption while protecting the public, the irrefutable hard evidence (presented to the Florida Public Service Commission, and others) clearly shows that THE GOVERNMENT SIMPLY REFUSES TO ENFORCE THEIR OWN EXISTING LAWS, (which would reduce government revenue substantially). Can you understand why this pervasive problem persists across the nation today? Builders understand it. Home buyers should also understand what they are about to purchase BEFORE they buy. Would you pay a few dollars less for a home that does NOT meet minimal legal building codes? Many Americans do every day.
Not only are the minimum legal energy efficiency building codes not being enforced across America, but the very important structural building codes are also not inspected or enforced properly, and the builders literally “get away with murder.”
In 2004, three powerful Global Warming hurricanes crossed paths near Orlando Florida. There were a number of homes built by the same construction company that fell down or blew apart (when they should not have under the conditions). Some had occupants in them. There was a lot of unnecessary pain, suffering and loss of property. It was easy to see in the rubble the reasons why these poorly constructed (below legal minimum) homes failed in the hurricane force winds, when other homes near them suffered only minor cosmetic damage.
The penny pinching popular builder had frequently violated Florida State law (not just once, but many times), and consistently failed to follow mandated minimum structural building codes for homes built shortly before the hurricanes hit. The (corrupt?) building code inspectors had failed to protect the home buyers by doing the job that they were paid to do.
Inspectors should have rejected the homes built by this construction company, but the inspectors did not (you can guess why). The builder and the inspectors should have both suffered great punishment for what they did (or failed to do). But today, they are back to business-as-usual without losing their jobs or licenses, and countless others throughout the nation are doing very similar things all of the time. Homeowners and insurance companies paid the price of tolerating illegal building practices. It is construction industry business-as-usual. Most of the time they get away with substandard construction, but the few times when it really counts, they do not. It is the nature of the cost-cutting profit-minded builders and tradesmen who are anxious to get paid quickly and move on to their next job.
Do you want the lowest-cost home on the market today? Do you REALLY want the WORST home that is legal to build, or would you like to save a hundred dollars and buy a home that is BELOW the legal minimum building codes (and explodes in a moderate wind storm, as did many expensive homes in Central Florida in 2004)?
Without going into detail at this time (we cover this very carefully in our Construction Checklist), a well-built Zero Energy Home requires more supervision on the part of the builder (and the concerned home buyer) than what incompetent building inspectors do during the conventional construction process. You cannot trust inspectors to ensure that you home meets legal minimum codes. ZED homes require much higher construction standards than building codes require.
2004’s avoidable Central Florida hurricane damage made it clear that the government-employed building code inspectors need to be inspected! It is not true of all inspectors – most building inspectors quietly do a wonderful job of protecting prospective homeowners, but every bushel basket seems to have a few bad apples in it. I’ve seen failure to properly inspect flawed home construction from cheap condos to multi-million-dollar luxury homes. Whenever humans are involved in any process, a minority of them seem to always be corrupt.
The source of the problem is that home buyers reward corrupt, illegal builders for saving a few dollars, by frequently purchasing substandard, inefficient, unreliable homes, at the lowest price in the marketplace.
(1) If the initial price is very low, it is probably NOT a good long-term bargain.
(2) Conversely, just because the price is high does not guarantee quality construction.
I talked with one painter recently who complained that the builder of a four million dollar home forced him to water down the paint to save a hundred dollars on the job. Paint prices have more than doubled recently, as have most other building materials. This kind of stupid “stuff” happens everyday in the badly mismanaged shortsighted building trades, at every level. Trustworthy builders and tradesmen with high integrity are extremely rare in an industry based on heavy price competition, for good reason. To the builder, profit is much more important than quality. When the rain rinses the paint off of the four million dollar house in a couple of years, the (wealthy) builder will be long gone. The paint can may say “20 Year Warrantee”, but the way it is applied makes all of the difference in the world. Have you ever known anyone who cashed in on the warrantee on their new house paint? The label on the can means nothing. Builder integrity does.
ZED mandates far superior construction administration than the worst homes that are allowed to be legally built, which only barely meet minimal building codes, at best. We always go far beyond minimal building codes, and document the quality that goes into the underlying construction process. Anything less would quickly destroy a reputation that has taken 25-years to establish.
Over the decades, I’ve seen an endless set of unbelievable things that other builders and subcontractors do to save a few minutes, or a few dollars, which can cost the homeowners tens of thousands of dollars not far in the future. Builders and subcontractors want to spend the minimal time possible to get paid and move on. In many cases, neither can read and understand specifications, follow checklists, nor even speak the same language. Even on the largest public buildings, failure to follow designer specifications has resulted in massive structural failures that have killed many people. That is what proper building inspections are supposed to prevent, but sometimes do not.
When the general contractor is not around, subcontractors make mistakes every day, and hide them as quickly as possible. It is called “cut and cover.” It is encouraged by lack of daily supervision and inconsistent enforcement of legally mandated building codes. It is like the drivers who frequently run red lights – if the government does not consistently enforce its own laws, people become trained to ignore them, until a catastrophe strikes, and it is far too late to correct someone’s many previous habitual mistakes and violations of the unenforced laws.
I’ve seen critical doors and windows that didn't’t even wind up in the right place – the house didn’t look like its exterior drawings! I had one carpenter eventually admit (after building the same wall incorrectly three different times): “I has trouble wid take away froms, when it comes to borry twelve.” I gasped in horror and walked away shaking my head in utter disbelief. It took days to replace his entire non-learning crew, and the replacements weren’t much better. With close daily supervision, the new crew had to correct serious mistakes made by illiterate idiots.
Intelligent craftsmen who can read specifications and follow them these days are extremely hard to find any more. They prefer to work for builders who keep them regularly employed, but they use the same techniques on the next house as on the ones they built years ago. Construction business innovation takes place VERY slowly over many decades (or not at all, as with the last half century).
With only 62% of all American males now graduating from high school (and many dropouts finding their way into the construction trades), we truly live in a Non-Learning Nation. Uneducated, illegal (criminal) aliens are often found working in most housing projects. They learn to get away with everything they can. The pain of heavy labor often leads poorly-educated minimum-wage workers to alcohol or heavy drug abuse, and other crimes to support their bad habits. Doing less than what building codes require is minor compared to other crimes that they are comfortable with.
Given the strong evidence that this is the environment in which we must build houses today, ZED innovations require very close supervision by someone who can read AND communicate with construction workers! Quality craftsmen SHOULD be paid well for doing it right, but they should not be paid until they do what they agreed to do. Most all of them promise high quality work to get a prospective job, but then they simply fail to do what they agreed to (and even suggested themselves during negotiations). The supervisor merely needs to write down what is required by the specifications, and the quality that tradesmen offer, and then hold them to their commitments (where a lack of integrity is otherwise very common in today’s construction trades).
It is SOOOO refreshing to work with a superior team of subcontractors who can read, follow specifications, and care about the quality of the products they produce. They are seldom the least expensive hourly rate contractors on a job, but they are the lowest when total cost of ownership is considered. High quality supervision is an important part of making it all happen smoothly and consistently in new ZED homes.
Until ZED becomes standard business practice, vigilant daily supervision is required at certain key points during construction. Home buyers must not settle for less (regardless of what government inspectors let builders get away with). Our ZED Construction Checklists itemize all of the important details and inspection points, for everyone to agree to BEFORE construction begins. Such things cannot be negotiated after the fact. Subcontractors must agree to what the final acceptance criteria will be, BEFORE they begin work. Even then, holding them to their commitment and not walk off of the job is sometimes a project management challenge.
A general lack of building code enforcement is only part of the ongoing problem today. The other big part of the well-documented non-sustainable Florida energy-inefficiency policy is that home buyers PREFER these worst-possible homes, as clearly evidenced by the fact that they shortsightedly buy the lowest-initial-cost, lowest-quality homes on the market, which have the highest possible long-term operating cost (and even serious structural failures, as demonstrated many times over by the 2004 Central Florida hurricanes, which were made worse than normal by today’s Global Warming).
Even expensive multimillion-dollar homes suffer from these lowest-possible-quality standards. In fact, the most expensive homes are often the worst energy wasters in all of Florida. Paying more per square foot for a house does NOT ensure high quality, structural integrity, or energy efficiency. A large custom home’s architecture should be reviewed, AND INSPECTED by a licensed structural engineer (which building code inspectors are not). A ZED expert should design (or review) the energy features of a home, and participate in construction inspections at key points in the negotiated Construction Checklist. A good set of innovative house plans is useless without a competent construction team who knows how to read and do new things that they may have never done before.
Surprisingly, most home buyers do NOT get upset when they learn that the building code officials consistently fail to enforce the law in nearly half of all new homes constructed, as clearly documented to the Florida Public Service Commission, which has taken very little action in the matter. The politician’s viewpoint seems to be: “Why punish the companies who provide income to us?” The government is NOT protecting the consumer, and home buyers are not complaining nearly as much as they ought to.
Most new home buyers just do not seem to care that they are going to have high, ever-increasing utility bills, which could have been avoided for the life of the house by demanding better-than-building-code Zero Energy Home Design features, in what is probably the largest investment most people make in a lifetime. How thoughtless is that?
The initial purchase price of a new house only considers what you must pay to get into the home (the monthly mortgage cost including taxes and insurance). Farsighted intelligent homeowners realize that they MUST also consider the “TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP”, which includes monthly mortgage payments PLUS the monthly operating costs, which can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars after a few years of ever-increasing (but avoidable) utility bills. Adding ZED to an existing house involves expenses that are not required if it is included in new construction. You only get one chance to do it right, at the lowest possible cost, and that chance requires insight into the highly predictable energy future.
Intelligent ZED, superior quality, and energy efficiency innovations are not free, but a small incremental investment in energy saving ZED can LOWER your total monthly payments. IF it is built according to experienced ZED home design specification and checklists.
In Florida, if your new home is rated as energy efficient (by a certified energy rater), you can obtain an EEM “Energy Efficient Mortgage”, which lets you qualify for a nicer home for the same total monthly payment as a lower-quality WORST-legally-allowed energy-inefficient home, with much higher ever-escalating energy bills. Buying the lowest-initial-cost home is rarely an intelligent bargain in the long run, but myopic non-learning home buyers do it the majority of the time. This myopic majority behavior just seems irrational, illogical, and hard to comprehend to someone who has worked so hard to minimize the long-term Total Cost of Ownership.
When it comes to Zero Energy Home Design energy-efficiency features, the state and federal governments and power companies are now extending subsidies and significant incentive programs to help lower the initial cost of intelligent energy efficiency, but most myopic home buyers are ignoring this “free money” for doing the right time. If they do take advantage of incentive program subsidies, they do it as an afterthought to new home construction, rather than integrating ZED into the whole home design from the basic house plan for maximum benefit at minimum additional cost. How very sad, but frequently true.
Here are a few questions to ask architects and builders, to help you discover how well informed, or totally clueless they really are. All of the answers are described in detail in our ZED book.
For the location where you want to build a new home:
- What are the primary mechanisms of heat transfer( conduction , convection and radiation )? How do they apply to a home?
- Thermal Conductivity transfers heat via physical contact and is important in building insulation and related fields
- Convectivity transfers heat via molecules within gasses and fluids and shows up most measurably in homes around glass windows and doors
- Thermal radiation transfers heat by emitting infrared radiation that's how the sun sends us heat from 93,000,000 miles away. It's also how our ZED Solar Room works to generate heat for your home. We control it using conductive and convective transfer mechanisms.
- What types of insulation work best? Where and why?
(OUR ZED EBOOK has all the answers
- What is the sun’s azimuth at sunrise and sunset, summer and winter?
- What is the sun’s peak altitude summer and winter? (there is 47 degree difference) Why is this critical?
- What are the annual degree-days of heating and cooling requirement?
- What is the role of enthalpy in residential human comfort control? (sensible temp. + humidity)
- How large should the window overhangs be on the four sides of a Zero Energy Home?
- What is the annual average BTU/sq. .ft./day solar gain potential?
- What are the typical monthly insulation levels?
- What is the monthly diurnal relative humidity? Why are each of the 4 seasons importan t?
- What is the optimum solar collector angle for photovoltaic panels?
- What is the optimum solar collector angle for domestic hot water panels?
- What is the optimum solar collector angle for 12-month swimming pool panels?
- What is the optimum angle and orientation for passive solar glass?
- What is the optimum angle and orientation for a skylight? (Trick question – NEVER USE!)
- How can you heat the north walls of a house in the winter without fans or electricity?
- Where should the laundry room be located? How should it be designed? Why?
- How does a thermo siphon work? Where or when should it be used? (solar hot water)
- What are the lowest and highest priced walls of a Zero Energy Home?
- What is the ambient temperature of the earth where the home s being built? How is this useful?
- Is it acceptable to run plumbing or electric wiring in exterior walls? (NEVER! )
- List the PRIORITIES of energy consumption that must be reduced in a Zero Energy Home.
- HOW do you reduce each of the higher energy consumption priorities?
- What are the fundamentals of passive solar cooling? Do they work in Florida? (YES!)
- What are the essential elements of a Zero Energy Home roof in a hot humid climate?
- How should a ceiling fan be operated? When and why? (Only when people are in the room!)
- How did they make ice in the summer in the 1800’s, before Edison electrified America?
- List the advantages of a thermal buffer zone over a conventional single shell house. (MANY!)
- What forms of lighting are the most flexible, with the lowest total cost of ownership?
- How would digital sensors and a $1 microprocessor be useful for room lighting?
- What is the best way to bring abundant daylight into a cheery home? (south glass)
- When was solar city community planning originated? Why and where? (believe is or not 2400 years ago)
- What culture invented glass? What were their earliest lessons learned? (NOT on west)
- How do you protect against lightning? How do you protect against fire? (metal framing)
- How can you eliminate termites and rot forever without using any toxins? (metal framing)
- How do you reduce or eliminate allergens, toxins, and carcinogens in homes? (MANY!)
- What is the primary trigger of asthma? How is it made much worse by your clothes dryer?
(see Laundry Room Disaster)
- What is the most cost effective way to protect against hurricane damage? (several)
- What is the difference between good windows and bad windows? (complex answer)
- Where should the windows on a house be located to control Thermal Gain/Loss? What alternatives do we have?
- How large should windows in different locations be? (big, small, or not at all)
- How would digital sensors and a $1 microprocessor be useful around windows?
- How many ways do you know to reduce heat flow through windows? (ZED has well over 100)
- How many ways do you know to use sunshine to cool a house in a hot humid climate?
- How do you cool and dehumidify a house with no energy bills when the sun is not shining?
- What is the primary source of Global Warming? (CO2) Will your new home make it worse?
- What is it like living in a Zero Energy Home? When did you build YOUR first one? ( We built our in 1979)
- List the Zero Energy Home incentive programs available to ME. (See Govt. Programs)
Since 1979, Natural Energy Applied Research and Zero Energy Design® have developed HUNDREDS OF NEAR-ZERO ENERGY HOME DESIGNS that have been built across the U.S., Canada, and Australia, in every type of climatic zone. Each one is uniquely designed for its site-specific and owner-budget / lifestyle objectives.
30 years of Beautiful ZERO ENERGY HOME DESIGNS and HOME PLANS, Passive Solar Heating and Cooling Architecture. Free Fuel Abundant Energy Lifestyle in Complete Harmony with Nature.
No Petroleum, Gas, Coal, Alcohol, Biodiesel, Nuclear Waste Disposal Problems, or other man-made climate change Global Warming Greenhouse Gases.
Zero Energy Design ® (ZED) is a joyful, sustainable, bright-and-beautiful, cost-effective lifestyle - lived in complete harmony with nature. ZED’s ultimate goal is to live well, and contribute to the productivity of society, WITHOUT wasting any non-renewable, unhealthy, polluting resources, like burning petroleum (liquids or gas), coal, wood, or relying on risky nuclear power, with complex by product-disposal and negative environmental impacts. ZED offers a clear path to cost-effectively reduce Global Warming and eliminate the modern American Energy Crisis in only a few short years.
Since 1979, Natural Energy Applied Research and Zero Energy Design ® have developed HUNDREDS OF NEAR-ZERO ENERGY HOME DESIGNS and HOME PLANS that have been built across the U.S., Canada, and Australia, in every type of climatic zone. Each one is uniquely designed for its site-specific and owner-budget / lifestyle objectives.
Every one of our ZED house plans includes passive solar heating and cooling technology, integrated into the comprehensive Holistic Systems Engineering of the overall whole-house thermal performance of the building. We NEVER have done any conventional energy wasting building designs. Our very first 1979 home design was a Zero Energy Home, and today we can say we use those same techniques but with modern technology at our command.
Most of our Zero Energy house Plans, include active solar technology, like hot water heating or photovoltaic solar electric power production systems. We work closely with what your objectives are, from simply lowering utility by about two thirds, down to completely off-the-grid rural homes that have no public utility connections at all.
The design of a grid-connected Net Zero Energy Home is less complex than an off-the-grid home. A grid-connected home can run its electric meter backward during the spring and fall, and then consume less energy from the grid during the peak months than it put into the grid during the moderate spring and fall months. This result in a NET Zero Energy Home Design, with zero utility bills on an annual basis.
Off-the-grid homes require battery systems to handle peak loads, and a long period of cloudy days. For safety, they also need some type of other local power backup system.
House plans designed for a home in a colder climate are NOT appropriate for Florida, and a Florida house will not work well in Chicago or Canada. Australian homes are turned to face the north, instead of the south, as in the northern hemisphere. If you used northern hemisphere house plans in Australia, the east (morning) side would face west into the hot afternoon sun – and would NOT work as it was designed for the northern hemisphere, A mirror image southern hemisphere house is required for hot northern Australian climatic zones
Zero Energy House Plans are NOT “one size fits all.” We much prefer to get involved with the prospective home owner, to make sure that their investment is well worth the time, effort, and money they will put into their innovative new home. We do not EVER want anyone to say that they built a house according to our plans, and it did not work as they had hoped.
Even if you are building a home that is similar to one of our nearby homes, each owner may have a slightly different budget or lifestyle objective. We would like to get to know YOU, so we can accommodate your diverse desires. The purchase of a new Zero Energy Home is often the very best investment that people make in a lifetime. We want you to receive the maximum value that you can for your precious investment. You do NOT want an inexperienced architect or builder to experiment with your money, without being trained, mentored, coached, and monitored by someone with decades of valuable Zero Energy Home Design experience.
Our Zero Energy Homes generate a lot of public interest when they are introduced in a new community. We want each one to have our very-latest, most-cost-effective technology in it, so all media coverage will be the very best that it can be, all things considered.
For over 25 years, we’ve been gathering more knowledge on the subject of Zero Energy Home Design than anyone else we know, and making subtle iterative refinements to our many design principles and construction practices. The basic thermal design issues and the seasonal path of the sun have not changed, but the available innovative materials, products, tools and techniques have.
Even though the homes we designed and built in the 1980’s performed better than any others of their day, you would not want to exactly duplicate our older house plans, when we have better things that we can do at lower cost today.
For this reason, we do not offer stagnant house plans of work we did in previous years. It takes time to develop a portfolio of many house plans, and over those decades we have learned a great deal. It is OUR JOB to keep on top of everything that applies to Zero Energy Home Design today, and include it in every new set of specifications that we produce. Buying an old stock house plan would be a waste of your money, when newer and better things are emerging every year, and things (like photovoltaic solar cells) that did not used to be cost effective are now becoming an excellent economic decision to including in your new home mortgage. Energy efficient government incentive programs are also another modern influence on what is cost effective. Your tax bracket, the availability of EEM Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM))
People who offer stock house plans may try to sell you work that was done years or decades ago by their architects, or by others, since conventional house designs have changed very little for a very long time, BUT WE DO NOT OFFER OBSOLETE HOUSE PLANS AT ANY PRICE, even though it would be very easy for us to just copy the excellent work we did long ago. We’ve had people in Australia ask us to sell them an existing house plan, but we simply refuse to do it, for reasons mentioned above.
Each of our house plans is CUSTOMIZED FOR THE LOCATION AND THE PEOPLE who plan to live in our Zero Energy Design® happy homes. Every time we design a new home, it is better than any home we have ever developed before (for the desires and constraints of the buyers we designed it for).
We have designed popular 1800 sq. .ft.., 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 2-car garage Zero Energy Home Plans that were built years ago for only $60,000. We’ve designed million dollar homes with indoor swimming pools, spectacular hillside views, and exciting entertainment areas, using all of the latest solar energy equipment. We are currently voluntarily working on a Chamber of Commerce low-income housing project for people with disabilities. It will start at the low end with 1-bedroom, 1-bath units less than 700 sq. .ft.., costing well under $60/sq. .ft.., with state-of-the-art energy efficiency features to minimize the total cost of ownership. We have also designed innovative multi-million-dollar office buildings for medical professionals who are concerned about healthcare, impact on the environment, and minimizing escalating energy costs in a comfortable place to work and to be treated.
We sincerely wish all of our readers an Abundant New Life In Harmony With Nature
Lifelong Learning In An Ever-Expanding Universe Of Endless Possibilities TM
We invite constructive suggestions and collaboration with our new friends
E-Mail To: ZEDmaster@ZeroEnergyDesign.com