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Energy Efficiency and Solar Electricity Go Hand in Hand

Solar & Efficiency Special
This article originally appeared in the Solar & Efficiency Special issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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March 19, 2007
While zero-energy homes (ZEHs) are still more of a goal than a reality, near-zero-energy homes—those that produce as much electricity, but not quite as much total energy, as the residents consume—are up for sale. Indeed, about 12 cutting-edge builders have constructed whole communities of these near-zero-energy homes (NZEHs). These communities of NZEHs have attracted widespread media attention and, more importantly to builders, have sold either better than or as well as their more conventionally built counterparts. These visionary builders have learned some important lessons about how to build and sell homes that are practically energy independent. DOE, through its Building America (BA) program, has been collaborating with these forward-thinking builders, as together they work toward DOE’s 2020 goal of creating marketable homes that are highly energy efficient and that produce as much energy as they use. BA research focuses primarily on developing and integrating leading-edge technologies into ZEHs, on developing rate structures to encourage reduction of electricity demand during the summer peak periods, and on developing controls to assist or automate reduction of peak demand. There are currently six BA teams in the United States. Each team is responsible for developing practical and affordable approaches to ...

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