The Rationale for Net-Zero Homes

Mike Lubliner ME, Building America, and Tom Balderson, Building Performance Consultant at Conservation Services Group

By, Martha Rose

In the mid-1970’s I had the pleasure to be living in a rural area of Grays Harbor County and simultaneously learned that a twin nuclear power plant was to be built 15 miles away as the crow flies. This turned into an opportunity to really learn about alternative energy sources.


Then as well as now, it turns out, conservation is THE lowest hanging fruit of the energy tree. Simply put, insulating more and better can eliminate the need to build more nukes or to drill for more oil.


In the 70’s, I didn’t know that our housing stock was responsible for the greatest amount of energy consumption (40%). I thought the biggest culprit was industry (15%+/-) followed by vehicles (25%). What an aha!  Moment it was when I learned the truth about energy consumption.


So even if lifestyle changes are made by riding the bus, walking more, and eating local food, there still remains the opportunity to make the biggest impact on our own personal energy consumption. By achieving personal peak efficiency (PPE), we can become part of the solution of cleaning up our environment.


Consider this: The passive solar homes being built by Martha Rose Construction use less than ½ the energy and water resources as other new homes built today. These same homes’ efficiencies look even more impressive if they are set beside older homes.


Now, add active solar systems for hot water heating and electricity and the home’s energy consumption becomes very close to the magic zero number.


We are at the forefront of energy efficient homes in the Seattle market, setting new standards for other builders to follow.