Netzero philosophy goes beyond energy usage. We're not minimalists, and we're not interested in tiny-house living. Our goal is to have the smallest possible impact on the environment while still living the good life. We wanted this house to be a showcase for the idea that it is possible to minimize or even neutralize environmental harm and still enjoy all the luxuries of a modern home. So in addition to using only the electricity we generate, we will be incorporating sustainable building materials, reclaiming water and doing our best not to release much carbon into the atmosphere or the ground. We are also exploring some human safety features that are not as well known to the public, such as distributed DC electrical power for lighting and small appliances. Finally, we're employing a robust battery system that will power the home during those times where the public utility grid is operating at peak power, or when the grid is down completely.
"A house is a machine for living in."
From looking at the chart, it's pretty easy to figure out that HVAC is where most of the energy in a typical home is going, and where you'll get the most bang for your buck by cutting it down. Even though we are re-constructing a barn, this is essentially a new construction project so our ability to insulate the internal space will be significant. When we're done, the barn will practically be a hermetically sealed structure. Using modern, environmentally friendly insulating materials, it's possible to heat and cool a 2600 square foot space with open architecture and soaring ceilings using an HVAC system that traditionally would have struggled to handle a tiny cottage.