Zero Cost House, Saving Energy Home

June 4 2012

A Zero Cost House since longtime have been a dream for all the environment lovers who looked toward the possibility to build a house by saving energy, in other words a house where the energy consumption was very little.

 zero cost house

The house always has been considered a primary asset and often the relevant market trends could be considered as a barometer for the entire economic system.

The chapter of the bubble of subprime mortgages granted by American banks to purchase overvalued properties has triggered a spiral that has laid bare many situations latent for some decade and has started the financial crisis which, later transformed into real crisis has impacted, and still impacts worldwide the economies, especially in the West side of the planet.

The famous ‘American Dream’ that for years has been a point of reference for millions of people, painting in their minds the idyllic image of the ideal family ‘two earths and a hut’, now put your feet on the ground and let’s find out that the grounds upon which it rested our concept of well-being, were quite fragile and unstable.

Now then it is necessary to reorganize many things, restart with new principles aiming to try to maintain an appreciable level of comfort with costs more acceptable and, the most important, which must be adequate to our possibilities.

energy savings

The ‘Energy savings‘ of which we talked so much, more for the pleasure of talking than for real conviction, now become a necessity, a real need.

On the one hand we feel the need to preserve our planet, but on the other we have to deal with the how to get to the end of the month.

So, if we surf a little around the web, we realize that on many forums there is a huge research for people looking for how to save money on heating or how to reduce water wasting or how saving on the electricity bill, and so on.

It seems also significant that these requests are not only from the low-middle class, and this it means that the problem is well present and everybody seems now more sensitive and attentive to waste.

HOUSE AT ZERO COST AND ENERGY SAVING

Passive House‘ is one of the names under which is known an energy saving project tied to the house at no cost, originated in Northern Europe where the environmental culture and a deeper sensitivity are values well rooted.

To synthesize it comes to amortize the initial costs within a reasonable number of years by the energy savings achieved thanks to the investments made.

The ‘Passive House’ or ‘Home at Zero Cost‘ receives energy in the form of heat and holds it for later use for its own future needs of energy, together with the other energy internally produced.

In this way the use of external energy sources is close to zero and the energy needs of our house is fully satisfied independently.

The goal to be reached with the House at Zero Cost is to ensure that the energy consumption is substantially equal to the energy produced or stored.

The thermal energy required for heating water and domestic appliances is provided by solar photovoltaic panels on the roof. Furthermore, from the hot air, both the one used and the one produced inside the house, before being expelled, thanks to a certain process, it is extracted much of its calorific power.

In order to meet the energy needs in the ‘Passive House’ it is however necessary to have a second power source such as a pellet stove. If the units have been properly built according to specific energy saving requirements, a small pellet plant should be enough to satisfy the needs. In fact, with only 100 watts per 100 square meters, a plant is normally unable to ensure adequate heating of the environment.

In addition into a ‘House at Zero Cost‘ the heat produced by large household appliances powered by electricity produced by the solar panels it will be able to be re-used as supplement heating.

Several are the virtues of the ‘House at Zero Cost‘, both from the economic point of view and also to protect the environment, which is even a priceless value.

passive house

THE COST OF THE HOUSE AT ZERO COST

There are several specialized companies that offer cost estimates for the construction of a House at Zero Cost or Passive House, but untill now the very little experience on this sector makes very difficult to quote an affordable cost per square feet. This is quite obvious mainly because there are too many variables for each situation:

  • the geographical location,
  • the environment,
  • the climate,
  • the type and conformation of the ground,
  • size of the house,
  • the number of inhabitants, etc.

Just to give a very approximate idea, in Europe the cost of said buildings could range from 3,000 to 4,500 US dollars per square foot.  But, of course, there is no limit, depending from the quality.

Undoubtedly it must be said that the costs that are incurred at the beginning of creation, can be tough even though they may be funded by banks or even encouraged by government funding (funding for photovoltaic and solar panels), which would indeed be highly desirable.

The cost for the construction of a house with very low environmental impact could be influenced not only by the factors mentioned above, but also by others, depending on the degree of self-sufficiency to be achieved.

By contrast, the advantages are considerably high, in fact it will benefit them in the medium to long term and moreover, they will last over time with a multiplier effect and with great benefits for our health.

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