Zero Net Now
Zero Net Now, a partner in the DOE ZERH program since its inception in 2007, has committed to certifying all of its homes to the DOE Zero-Energy Home label.
In this month’s feature, we asked Zero Net Now founder Anthony Aebi to share some insight on building HERS homes for their customers.
Q: What is special about a HERS Rated home?
A: Anthony: You know, or at least have an idea of the energy needs of your home (or home you are buying) relative to other homes. As I keep pushing for, the HERS score should be applied to every structure. Just as for vehicles, and even commercial structures, HERS should be as common as MPG.
Q: Why should consumers ask for the HERS Index Score on homes they are shopping for?
A: Anthony: They ask about MPG for new cars, why not for purchasing something that costs an order of magnitude more and uses a lot more energy with higher costs each year?
Q: Why does Zero Net Now choose to have their homes HERS Rated?
A: Anthony: I believe our homeowners should have the best performing home and be able to have metrics that prove that. We routinely achieve Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores of under 10 with photovoltaics, or under 40 when renewable energy is not counted in the scoring.
Q: Why consumers should expect energy-efficient homes?
A: Anthony: Energy prices will continue to rise and become an ever larger part of monthly expenses. Also, consumers should expect better for the environment and their health.
Q: How many homes does Zero Net Now build with HERS per year?
A: Anthony: We build between 1-3 homes per year, and have committed to certifying all homes to the DOE Zero-Energy Home label.
Q: How do you market HERS Rated homes?
A: Anthony: I market zero energy homes and use the HERS Scores as proof of that designation. We have also worked with real estate agents to put together information packets for prospective buyers that include brochures (from DOE Zero Energy Ready Home and EPA’s Indoor airPLUS), testimonials, case studies, and a cost-benefits calculator. In addition, we have provided training in their energy efficiency features for sales agents who actively promote their homes through online databases, realtor open houses, and outdoor signage.
Q: How do your customers feel about HERS Rated homes?
A: Anthony: They like the low number and the fact that at least one of my homes gets to brag every year that RESNET gave their home an award for the lowest pre-renewable HERS score in the country. They also appreciate really low or no energy bills. Many of our new homeowners were referred by current homeowners.