What is ZNE?

ZNE.com is your open door to the ultimate online space of impartial information and updates for all things energy efficient. Our topics are centralized around energy efficient homes & buildings. Smart homes. Green homes. Solar power. The newest, latest and most revolutionary green technologies. We are your middle man to the world of green.

 “We are your middle man to the world of green.”

California Energy Commission’s Title 24 is the spark that inspired this organization, especially with all the changes it is enforcing and will be updating to enforce. Title 24, in a nutshell, is a collection of legal requirements and regulatory standards aimed at reducing energy usage for residential and non-residential buildings. These requirements are also known as the California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which sounds somewhat intimidating, but making sure your house aligns with the regulations is truly beneficial for your housing costs, the environment and the economy.

 

The 2013 cycle of Title 24 rewrites enforced a new set of codes that were put into action as of January 2014. As these regulations are rewritten every 3 years, big changes are coming in 2016. We don’t want you to be surprised by new regulations, so we’re giving you the insight, knowledge and lingo to prepare now. It’s why our site has a business directory of people, companies and resources to help you meet Title 24 regulations and keep you in the green, so to speak.

“We don’t want you to be surprised by new regulations, so we’re giving you the insight, knowledge and lingo to prepare now.”

What is it we’re preparing for and most focused on?  ZNE.  ZNE stands for Zero Net Energy. If that sounds like it could get highly technical fast, no worries. It’s quite simple, and we’re here to break it down.

 

A building or home that is classified as “Zero Net Energy” is simply a building that produces as much energy as it consumes. If the building uses a certain amount of energy in one month, the building produces at least that much energy. There is no net energy – zero of it as the name implies. This energy can be produced a number of ways, most commonly by solar panels that harness the energy of the sun into a usable power source, and other efficiency measures, like smart home systems and conscientious insulating, help optimize the power use and prevent waste.

“If my own house was a net zero energy building making all its own energy, would I even have to pay for any energy? The answer is no; you would likely have absolutely no dollars (spent) per month…”

Buildings who meet this lofty goal are also known as Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB). Now, if you hear the terms Near Zero Energy Buildings or Ultra-Low Energy Houses, it is good to note that they are similar but slightly different. The difference of a Near Zero Energy Building is that it uses a bit more energy than it creates, so there’s almost no net energy and only a small energy bill!

 

You may be thinking: If my own house was a net zero energy building making all its own energy, would I even have to pay for any energy? The answer is no; you would likely have absolutely no dollars per month spent on energy for heating your home, producing air conditioning and such. Buildings do pay a small fee each month to be connected to the electric grid, usually averaging around just $10 a month, but other than this cost…the energy bill is usually ZERO, or even negative (money in your pocket!) if your home produces more power for “the grid” than it consumes..


“…as the government offers tax incentives and rebates for having a net zero building, you can earn a good amount of money back…”

Does this electric bill saving technology mean a much higher purchasing cost to buy one of these eco friendly homes home? The initial cost may be 5 – 6% more than a “normal home”, but as the government offers tax incentives and rebates for having a net zero building, you can earn a good amount of money back there, or even qualify for special financing programs. In addition, because you’re saving so much on your energy bills, you are making up for the extra cost within a fairly short amount of time.

Besides big time savings on energy bills, there are the environmental benefits. With these energy efficient homes producing their own energy through solar power, their carbon footprint is significantly smaller than a regular home. Lowering the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted into the atmosphere is good for today’s generation, and even more important for keeping the air clean for future generations.


“(Energy inspectors are) specially trained and certified professionals (that) evaluate people’s homes and can spot areas that may be unknowingly adding excessive energy costs.”

Who is regulating these renewable homes and can help you with yours? This is where an energy inspector comes in. These specially trained and certified professionals evaluate people’s homes and can spot areas that may be unknowingly adding excessive energy costs. Working knowledge of the Title 24 or similar state-specific regulations allows them to ensure your home is getting the most bang for its buck.

 

Related to this topic, you’ll hear the term LEED certified. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. This acronym applies to 2 things.

 

  1. An LEED certificate is a certification energy inspectors can earn. This means they have gone a through a rigorous training program that has provided them with an in-depth knowledge of green building requirements and Title 24 approved techniques.
  2. A building can earn a LEED certificate. This means it is recognized as having the most up-to-date green and energy efficient standards.

 

“An LEED certificate is a certification energy inspectors can earn. This means they have gone a through a rigorous training program that has provided them with an in-depth knowledge of green building requirements…”

This brings us to HERS. Whose? HERS.  The HERS, Home Energy Rating System, program was originally created to ensure correctly installed equipment and proper construction. This system has been updated to match the requirements of Title 24. HERS is now a rating system that rates a home or building on a scale from 0 to 250, representing its level of efficiency on this scale of low to high.

 

Hopefully this information has cleared up some of the basics and helped decrypt some of the green energy acronyms. Explore the rest of the site to get more of the in-depth and specific information & resources you need!

 

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