A Net Zero Home
December 12, 2019
In 2018, we started on a custom home that wasn’t much different from our usual projects. A nice exterior, open floor plan, and adherence to NC Green Built & ENERGYSTAR building standards. With a few tweaks however, this typical custom build became anything but typical. By adding solar panels, some extra insulation, and paying attention to the sun, this custom home has achieved Green Built Homes’ Platinum Net Zero level certification.
If you’re familiar with green building, you’ve probably heard the term “Net Zero.” Here in Asheville, Green Built Alliance has defined a Net Zero Home as a home that meets all the requirements of Greenbuilt NC (which has above code standards for materials use, site sustainability, water conservation, indoor air quality, and appliances) plus one more: it has enough renewable energy (typically in the form of solar photovoltaics) to achieve a HERS rating of 15 or lower. In simple terms, the home produces as much or more energy than it uses in a year.
We’re really excited about this home because it shows that we can build homes that are modern, stylish, have all the comforts of a custom home, and are super sustainable and environmentally friendly. It’s incredible that we can work with a conventional home design, and by being intentional, can make relatively small changes that result in big energy savings. On this particular home, the solar panels were installed by Sugar Hollow Solar. Adding solar energy really took this home over the Net Zero threshold. From the Green Built Alliance definition of Net Zero, we know that the HERS rating should be under 15; this 2,400 square foot home has a HERS rating of 9.
About their building process, the owners had this to say:
“We moved into our custom JAG home in September 2018 and could not be happier. After meeting owner Jody Guokas nine years prior and watching his company develop into one of the leading green builders in the Asheville area, we knew we wanted to work with him when were finally ready to build. His passion for sustainability combined with his relaxed demeanor made that decision easy.
After hearing many horror stories over the years about building, we consider ourselves lucky as we found the whole undertaking to be exciting, interesting and pleasant. JAG has a terrific crew - office and otherwise - that is available for questions and assistance throughout the process, and we felt like we gained a good friend in our project manager, Kevin. The whole team is professional and courteous, yet easy going.
During the budgeting process we never discussed a desired Energy Star rating despite our wish to be as sustainable as possible. There were a number of decisions made where we simply defaulted to JAG's expertise for the answers. In the end we were absolutely thrilled when our home qualified for Platinum Net Zero certification.
We feel so fortunate having had this experience and to now be living in our JAG home!”
You can read more about this custom home we built on page 24 of the 2019 Green Building Directory.