Zero Energy Home

Dan and Karen built a net-zero energy home. But will it really produce as much energy as it uses over a year? Computers, TVs, loads of laundry--how do these affect daily energy use? How about the grueling Texas heat and humidity?

To prove it, Dan -- a software engineer -- installed a weather station. He set up his own system to track the home's daily energy use and map it against the weather. He will report his findings to us in regular blog posts over the next year, so check back often to see what happens. What will the numbers reveal?

We have many questions. In any home designed for net-zero energy, a huge variable is the behavior of the home’s inhabitants. You can use all the energy models in the world and design the most energy-efficient house possible, but how will the people operate the house? People vary wildly in their ideas of comfort – for example, where do you set the thermostat? Some people hang the laundry instead of running the dryer. Some are fastidious about unplugging anything that might suck power. Others need their computers, stereos, electric guitars and amps, and long steamy showers. Dan and Karen have set up their own controlled environment. They are both observers and the observed. As they monitor daily energy use and document their own behavior, how will the data they’re gathering affect the choices and changes they make? What can we learn from their experiment?  How can we use this valuable information to improve our design and build processes from the beginning? How can we better educate our clients?

Read more about Dan and Karen's home. We’re excited about this project and look forward to each new installment from Dan.  We hope you check back often to watch the story unfold.  (Or, subscribe to our newsletter, and we’ll keep you updated.)