There’s a potentially huge market for net zero homes, but you have to know how to sell them.
It’s easier than ever to build a home that uses so little energy that, when outfitted with solar panels, it puts more electricity back into the grid over the course of a year than it uses. Although such homes cost more than code minimum construction, industry pros are learning how to help buyers see the return on that cost. Many claim they can make price objections virtually disappear.
This approach is called net zero home building. As the next step beyond ENERGY STAR, it represents the cutting edge of energy-efficient, high-performance construction. Now, thanks to more sophisticated building products, better developed building science, and tax incentives for solar, it seems poised to go mainstream.
Net zero has been the topic of countless magazine articles in recent years and has even spawned a government agency: the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program. GreenBuildingAdvisor.com estimates a 33% growth in the program from 2015 to 2016 alone, and some forward-thinking production builders are building entire communities of these homes.
But while such growth is encouraging, net zero isn’t as common as its press coverage would imply. It still accounts for less than 1% of U.S. housing stock.
The question is why?