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Can your house be CO2 free?
Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a house that emits zero CO2? It's almost unthinkable, right? How could that work? Let's take a look at what it means to be a carbon-free home and how it's possible.
Zero carbon home definition
Designed to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by using more efficient and sustainable practices, carbon-free homes and buildings are designed and built around the world. Depending on who you ask, zero carbon has different meanings. It is determined by the country and by the professional. For example, an architect may define zero carbon differently than a civil engineer.
Here are some general definitions:
* Zero carbon is a general term applied to a building with zero net energy consumption and zero CO2 emissions per year. They are separate from the energy grid and are also taken from the electricity grid.
* A CO2-free house is a house that generates as much electricity as it consumes over the course of a year and therefore has zero net CO2 emissions. This is also often referred to as a net zero site energy.
* Net off-site zero energy consumption is when a home produces 100% of its energy from renewable energy sources.
* Finally, another common definition is the so-called net zero emissions, which means that the carbon emissions generated by this type of home are offset by the on-site energy production. For example, if the house uses 100 units of energy from fuels and generates 100 units from solar on site, then they are not zero.
Each definition includes a philosophy of what it means to be green. It responds to the debate about energy saving versus energy generation. Is a house green because it saves energy or is it green because it generates its own energy?
What zero carbon means to you
By these definitions, it is very possible that you are turning your home into a carbon-free home right now. Embracing wind and solar power to balance the amount of energy you use from the grid would result in a net-zero off-site home. You contribute as much as you use. This is definitely something to keep in mind if you are making changes or undergoing a home renovation.
Home builders today are adopting low-carbon practices to make their homes more environmentally friendly and to meet the demands of home buyers. And if you hit the market to buy a home in the future, you can know about your energy options. You can make an informed decision about where to get your energy sources and how you want to contribute to a greener planet.
There are, of course, benefits to having a carbon-free home in addition to reducing your CO2 emissions. A significant benefit is that while it may cost more to build a carbon-free home, you will reap the benefits of significantly lower utility bills and will see your investment recoup after a few years. In addition, your home can maintain or increase its value compared to comparable homes without an eco-friendly design.