Zero Peak Homes: Real Homes, Real Savings

Climate Solutions Special Issue
A version of this article appears in the Climate Solutions Special Issue issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 01, 2008
A net-zero energy home (ZEH) has become a familiar construct to most Home Energy readers. But what we at the Building Industry Research Alliance (BIRA) have learned as we have worked to make this concept a reality has piqued our interest in another type of home—the zero peak home (ZPH). While ZEHs create as much energy as they use over the course of a year, ZPHs draw no grid electricity during peak hours. These homes offer significant benefits to their occupants. They could also help our country to considerably reduce peak electricity demand and overall carbon emissions. BIRA is one of six teams working with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America program and national labs to create cost-effective, marketable ZEHs by 2020. Based in California, BIRA has worked with regional and national builders to construct over 10,000 Building America homes in the past five years. Today’s near ZEHs reduce energy use and utility bills by at least 60% compared to an average home built today, through the use of energy efficiency and solar energy technologies. Even with these added features, these ZEHs remain cost competitive with traditional homes. When we add together all of ...

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