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Is net zero possible in my cold/hot/cloudy location?
Yes. We build net-zero houses in the Pacifc Northwest, which is cloudy and yields 3.5 hours of sunshine per day on average. With this level of cloudiness, we spec between 3.1 watts of solar per square foot (for a 2,500-square-foot house) to 4.8 watts per square foot (for a 1,000-square-foot house) to achieve net zero.
Does a net-zero house have batteries?
Not necessarily. A net-zero house does not need batteries because the house is tied to the electricity grid. Because net-zero houses are often all electric, a battery is a good idea if your area has power outages. You can also keep a generator for these eventualities.
Does a net-zero home cost more to build?
Yes. A net-zero house has to include solar panels to generate energy.
Why isn’t every home net zero?
A net-zero house is very, very well insulated to ensure that only a small amount of energy is needed to heat or cool the house. Not many houses are well enough insulated to be cost-effectively net zero, although you can always add more solar panels. Importantly, a net-zero house must have the means to produce energy, which is often solar panels. There must be enough roof space to locate solar panels, and the panels need to be installed.
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