A "net-zero" home, also called a "zero energy home" or a "net-zero energy home" is a home that produces all of the electricity it needs for a year with on-site renewable energy, such as wind or solar. Because renewable energy equipment is a considerable investment, the most practical and cost-effective way to build a net-zero home is to focus first on being as energy efficient as possible, using design features like super-insulation, extreme air-tightness, and passive solar design to drop heating and cooling demand.
Most net-zero homes use a grid-tied solar array to achieve net-zero energy production. In a grid-tied setup, you use solar energy while retaining your connection to the electricity grid, avoiding the need for expensive batteries to store the power you produce. When the sun is shining, the electricity your solar panels produce is fed into the grid and the power company gives you credit for what you produce. When the sun is not shining, you draw power from the grid, just as in a conventional home. Over the course of the year, the amount of power you produce and the amount of power you pull from the grid are designed to cancel out, giving you a net energy bill of $0. That is where the term "net-zero" comes from. Typically this will mean that you produce more power than you use in summer, but may produce less power than you use in winter. Over the year, however, your power production and consumption should even out.
"Panelized construction” involves the prefabrication of a structure in identifiable panels that can be easily transported directly to the jobsite and assembled quickly on the foundation. A “building system” is a method of constructing residential or commercial structures in a factory setting and then transporting them to the building site for placement on a permanent foundation where they will perform and function with very predictable results.
Our “panelized building system” makes for quick and accurate assembly in the field for first time builders and owner builders. Each house is hand built for lasting value to assure the wall panels, roof and floor systems fit together smoothly on the job site. Most Deltec homes can be assembled in three to seven days.
A Renew collection home uses energy efficient design strategies to drop its energy needs by 2/3rds when compared to a typical home. The remaining energy needs may then be powered by on-site renewable energy, if feasible.
In short, a Renew collection home is at the forefront of energy efficient building design, well exceeding minimum building code requirements for energy efficiency. A few examples of the design features that set a high-performance home apart:
· double-stud walls
· raised-heel trusses
· continuous exterior insulation
· factory applied building gaskets to improve air-tightness of our wall panels
· passive solar or sun-tempered design
· exceptionally air-tight construction, paired with fresh air ventilation systems
Deltec can include a solar electric kit with your home package, available in several different sizes and configurations. You can also work with a local solar contractor to source and install the solar electric array that will power your Renew collection home. Our kits can work well for DIY homeowners, in conjunction with an electrician. Our kits are connected to the electrical grid, providing power to the grid when the sun is shining, and allowing you to draw electricity as you need when it isn't. This is in contrast to an "off-grid" setup, which stores the energy produced by solar panels in batteries for later use.
If rooftop space does not allow for solar panels, solar arrays can also be mounted on the ground.
Learn more about how grid-tied solar electric systems work, and how they are integrated into a house.
Deltec provides the “structural shell” of the home, including the floor and roof systems, exterior walls, and hardware. We also have the option of providing a number of additional products for your home. See our standard features and options page for a list of the components that are included in your kit, as well as a list of the optional items we can also provide.
A Renew collection home is designed to strike the right balance, from a cost-effective standpoint, between energy efficiency and renewable energy. Because energy use is highly affected by climate, energy efficiency strategies have different paybacks in different areas of the country. We have divided the United States into 3 climate zones:
Blue, North: This package includes a 10" thick, double-layer 2x4 wall, allowing plenty of space for extra insulation. It also includes out "net-zero" truss, designed to eliminate thermal bridging on the outside of our overhang. If you are purchasing windows from us, we suggest that customers in the North Zone chose triple pane glass.
Orange, South: This package includes our 2x6 Energy Wall, allowing more space for extra insulation while keeping to conventional framing practices. It also includes a raised heel truss to allow even insulation throughout the attic. If you are purchasing windows from us, we suggest that customers in the South Zone choose double pane glass with Argon and Low-E coating.
Crosshatched Area, Intermediate: In this unique climate zone, the energy package that makes the most sense for your project depends more heavily on your own goals. Either energy package can make sense. Our sales consultants and our green department can help you determine which package is the best fit for you.
These climate zones are guidelines, not rules. Any customer building anywhere may choose one package or the other, according to their energy efficiency and budgetary goals. They are based on the climate zones used for determining insulation requirements in building energy codes.
The Deltec shell package is prefabricated as an open panel system, meaning that once the Deltec package is assembled, the wood framing on the inside of the home is exposed. This allows for the home to be inspected by the local building inspector in the same way as a site-built home. After your builder has installed the plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems, you and your builder will provide the insulation, choosing the type of insulation that best fits your budget and performance goals.
Here is a likely range of R-values you can achieve, using insulation products such as fiberglass batts, dense pack or blown in cellulose insulation, blown in blanket insulation, or spray foam insulation.
SOUTH CLIMATE ZONE
Ceiling: R38-R60 (Raised heel truss design means that R38 insulation can be installed without compression all the way to the edge of the attic)
NORTH CLIMATE ZONE
Ceiling: R60+ (Raised heel truss design means that R56 insulation can be installed without compression all the way to the edge of the attic)
Deltec wall options allow you to choose from quite a few insulation strategies, from a deeper wall cavity for thicker fiberglass batts to the opportunity to use high performing spray polyurethane foam. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to use an installer who really knows the product and installs it correctly – whether that is spray foam, fiberglass, cellulose, or another product. Choosing insulation and understanding how to install it properly is a decision best made based on your climate, your design goals, and budget. Part of your Renew collection package includes energy modeling of the home's performance. The green department will assist you in selecting insulation types and thicknesses during the design process.
When you purchase a Deltec shell from us, it will be shipped to your jobsite. Typically, you will hire a general contractor in your location to erect and finish out the home. Because construction costs differ based on state, climate, jobsite topography and how you choose to finish out the interior of your home, total finishing costs will be very dependent on you. However, our sales consultants can generate a personalized, detailed turnkey construction estimate based on national average construction costs for your state.
Customers building in or near our headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina can take advantage of full turnkey construction services through our builder, Deltec Building Company.
If you intend to seek a green certification for your home such as LEED for Homes or ENERGY STAR, it is best to start early in the design process, as these certifications typically take into consideration all aspects of a building project, from the land you build it on to the type of fixtures installed in the bathroom sink. A third-party design professional who is trained in the appropriate certification will be required during the design phase and to complete various performance tests in the field. We have worked extensively with these certification programs and can help you understand the process and requirements for each program.