Many of today’s standards for building residential homes encourage the use of highly energy efficient and even self-sustaining designs. As a result, Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Homes have grown in popularity. A ZNE home produces enough energy through on-site renewable sources to match the amount of energy used by the home over the course of a year1. ZNE builders often use spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation to help insulate and air seal these high performance homes.
The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHBs) estimates that the average homeowner spends more than $1,200 a year on energy costs2. Therefore, reducing the need to purchase electricity from traditional sources can be appealing to many households. ZNE Homes are known for their energy efficient designs and are typically built with features that may help to extend the life of the home, including double wall construction and advanced framing. ZNE Homes are air sealed to help improve energy efficiency and help keep moisture, allergens, and pests from entering the home3.
A typical home can lose as much as 40 percent of its energy through cracks and gaps in the walls and roof. SPF offers a versatile solution to this issue by insulating and air sealing a home with a single product. A home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can also impact a homeowner’s monthly utility bills. Increasing the energy efficiency of a home with products like SPF can reduce the workload of a home’s HVAC system. In some cases, a builder or homeowner may be able to replace an older HVAC system with smaller, more efficient systems. These improvements can add up to big savings on a household’s energy bill.
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The average home is responsible for close to 10 metric tons of CO2 per year from electricity and fossil fuel use4. ZNE Homes are designed to produce zero net carbon emissions.
Be Thermally Efficient: ZNE Homes use energy efficient building envelopes to help guard against energy loss through the walls and roof5.
Provide Excellent Air Sealing: ZNE Homes can improve indoor air quality by:
The Spray Foam Coalition is a Proud Sponsor of “Race to Zero”: A U.S. Department of Energy Student Design Competition
The Race to Zero encourages students to work with builders, developers, community leaders, and other industry partners to meet stringent design requirements and create marketable, affordable ZNE home concepts.
Two of the grand prize winner finalists for the 2016 competition included spray foam insulation in their designs:
2http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/03/average-monthly-electrical-bill-by-state-2013/. Based on the National Association of Home Builders’ analysis of 2013 data published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.
4http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/03/average-monthly-electrical-bill-by-state-2013/. Based on the National Association of Home Builders’ analysis of 2013 data published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.
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