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Difference between revisions of "CCAT NZE study"

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*Heat Exchanger aka "heat recovery ventilator"<ref> </ref>
*Heat Exchanger aka "heat recovery ventilator"<ref> </ref>
*Induction Cooktop<ref> </ref>
====Maintenance of a Net Zero Home====
====Maintenance of a Net Zero Home====

Revision as of 07:06, 19 November 2014


This is a research project in partnership between Engr308 Technology and the Environment and the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology during Fall 2014. The project includes analyzing the various energy uses of CCAT for their impacts (in dollars, energy, and carbon), as well as devising an implementable plan to ameliorate the impacts and to reach Net Zero Energy. Any suggested new additions will be analyzed on energy, carbon and dollar buyback.


American Cat Squad

Net Zero Heroes

50,000 KW


Big Green Hairy Squatches

Wireless Energy

Another Watt Saved

Ghostface Killowatts



Use wiki markup for references, which is the following format:

  • Information. <ref>URL or Title of reference. </ref>

See for more.

I will not be too draconian on writting style... but make sure NOT TO PLAGIARIZE![1]

Team 1-AAAN Research

Net Zero Energy Concepts

Description (e.g., Net Zero Energy describes building that have basketball nets that use zero energy during gameplay.)[2]

Home Energy Auditing

Some brief introduction and general description.

A list of stuff to do[3]:

  • Do this
  • And this
  • And don't for get this.

Maybe some links to different templates:

50,000 KW

Net Zero Energy Concepts

Becoming a Net Zero Energy Home is much more than just creating as much energy as you use, it starts by being more efficient, both in the technology used in the home and being conscious of the energy one is using and not using. [4]

Examples of Net Zero Homes

Two homes located in Gainesville, Florida were able to produce more energy than it used one home achieved "a HERS rating of -2" and the "energy consumption is offset by a 6.75 kW photovoltaic system." The other home achieved "a HERS rating of 0" and the “energy consumption is offset by a 6.6 kW photovoltaic system. [5]

Residential Electricity

In the United States we use 60Hz/ 120 V ac in our buildings. 1Hz or 1Hertz equals 1 cycle per second.[6] [7]

Energy History of CCAT

CCAT has made numerous projects many that have succeeded and a few that have failed, some of these projects are a photovoltaic system, natural building, organic design, pedal power machines and many other projects. All of these projects has truly made the house a center to experiment with appropriate technologies.[8]


Switching to LEDs has many advantages as they last longer, consume less electricity, are safer than incandescent lights, are sturdier as it will not break as easily, and are very easy to install. In all of these areas not only will LEDs will look nice in a home they will be saving you a lot more money in the long run.[9]


It is a tool to measure the electrical consumption of a device plugged into a socket. [10]

In Home Energy Monitors

TED Pro Home is in-home electricity monitor that allows you to view your electrical usage on a computer, helps perform household energy audits and reduce electricity usage. [11]

Peer-reviewed Journal

According to this article all new homes will meet the standards of the Net-Zero Energy Home by 2030 because by that time “the price of energy efficiency measures, renewable energy technologies, electricity and fuels will likely fluctuate, ultimately influencing the affordability of Net-Zero Energy Home.” [12]

Book Sources

Anna M. LaRue, Noelle C. Cole, Peter W. Turnbull (2013). Chapter 11 - What If This Actually Works? Implementing California’s Zero Net Energy Goals.: Energy Efficiency Towards the End of Demand Growth. Pages 275-303 [13]

A list of stuff to do[14]:

  • Do this
  • And this
  • And don't for get this.

Maybe some links to different templates:

Big Green Hairy Squatches Research

Net Zero Energy Concepts

  • According to Marzsal et al., "The Zero Energy Building (ZEB) concept is no longer perceived as a concept of a remote future, but as a realistic solution for the mitigation of CO2 emissions and/or the reduction of energy use in the building sector." [15]
  • "A NZEB/PEB refers to a building with a zero or negative net energy consumption over a typical year."[16]

Home Energy Auditing

The Home Energy Audit is the first step in determining how much energy the house consumes on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis. This will help us determine what kind of changes are needed to bring the CCAT building to a net-zero state.

Some things to look at when doing a home energy audit:

  • Evaluate electricity bills.
  • Inventory appliances.
  • Analyze doors, windows, laminates, and heating units.

Here are a few home energy audit examples:

  • Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits[17]
  • D-I-Y Home Audit Checklist [18]

Wire Less Energy Research Team

Net Zero Energy Concepts

A net-zero building produces the same amount of energy it consumes[19]. Reaching net-zero can be difficult and requires changes to the way the building consumes energy as well as with the behavior of the people who live or use the building. Our objective is to achieve net-zero at the CCAT house on the Humboldt State University campus (hopefully within a year!). We will do this by applying more energy efficient technologies after analyzing their building through an home energy audit.

Solar Stove

Maybe changing the stove into something that is solar would be a good idea. I found this to be an interesting possibility(GoSun Stove[20]). There are many different benefits to going solar with their stove but there are also obviously negatives as well. I'd like to research more about the solar stove as we go to see whether or not it is a viable possibility.

Steps to go Net Zero

  • 1.Audit your home
  • 2.Change your behavior
  • 3.Plug gaps
  • 4.Install compact Fluorescent lighting
  • 5.Buy a solar water heater
  • 6.Low-flow shower heads
  • 7.Installing ceiling fans
  • 8.Purchase Energy efficient appliance

The above are just a few steps you can take to go towards net-zero[21]. I will add more as we go into the project and will hopefully have a good list of instructions on how to get to net-zero on your own.

Home Energy Audit

Home Energy Auditing

American Cat Squad

Net Zero Energy Concepts

Net zero energy is a steadiness when comparing the energy that a specific building produces and the energy that the same building consumes [22]. Breaking down the statement “net zero energy” this definition is quite apparent. Net, of course, is indicative of the total so net zero would mean that the objects being compared must equal out. In this case the objects being compared would be energy.

Net Zero Energy Example

There are very good examples of net zero buildings, one of which is in Pittsburgh, PA and is called The Center for Sustainable Landscapes or CSL [22]. The CSL has actually had a group come in to figure out the embedded energy, and while it is not directly related to CCAT, or has a whole lot to do with the net zero we are going for, it is still very interesting. The embedded energy from the Center for Sustainable Landscapes was very close to that of a building constructed under normal means, mostly because the photovoltaic system is so high [22]. In order to get CCAT to have the energy they produce equate that which they consume, an in-depth home energy audit should be performed to identify the appliances that are using more energy than others, and finding a means to cut back on said energy consumption, and implement useful tools in the house to help the residence keep track of energy consumption.


This is specifically for the P4400 Kill A Watt TM, other devices could have subtle differences.There are a wide variety of instruments used in the energy audit, such instruments include the KillAWatt described above, wattmeter, power factor meter, foot-candle meter, ammeter, and voltmeter and many others that can specifically find information in temperature deviations for example [23]. The device is relatively simple in appearance but is very useful to find energy use in one’s house. It is essentially a box with the means to plug it into a wall and a place to plug in devices that you normally plug into a wall. Duration of time can vary from device to device, it is generally the larger appliances that are plugged in for a longer period of time, the refrigerator for example would be good to plug in for a week, but a cell phone charger can be plugged in for a day to get adequate readings[24]. There is a screen and a series of buttons from left to right: the volt button displays volts, the amp button displays the current amp output, the watt button displays both watts (active power) and VA or Vrm Arms (apparent power) watts appear upon one press and VA on the second press of the same button, next is the Hertz (which is frequency of voltage output) and press again to get the power factor which is the ratio of watts to VA, and finally the button that will be of most use for the duration of this project is the kWh button farthest to the right which shows the energy consumed by the device for the duration of time it was plugged into the meter as well as how long the device was plugged into the meter on the second press; all of these are displayed on the LED screen [25].

CCAT Energy

In an interview with one of the CCAT co-directors, it seems like appliances in the CCAT house that likely use the most energy include; the fridge, hot water heater and lights. In the past CCAT would track the energy history, but it is not done currently. They do have the capability to measure the energy use and all the old gas and electric bills are kept. The easiest methods to increase energy efficacy would be getting LED lights, transitioning to all electric, and increasing the capacity of the solar array. The changes in energy use vary with who is in the house, but there have been no new projects to increase energy use. The current net zero plans are very long term in a scale of years, they do not currently know where they are but the gas and electric bills are minimal. There are in-home energy monitors in the house but are not used on a day to day basis. The residence cut back on energy in the standard ways, not leaving lights on, using cold water, keeping the house cool and other customary energy saving methods. [26].

Home Energy Auditing

Objective: Analyzing energy leakage and constructing a plan to fully minimize energy and reach net zero use at CCAT by 2016.

A list of stuff to do[27]:

  • Do this
  • And this
  • And don't forget this.

Maybe some links to different templates:

Energy Loss due to Air Infiltration

Infiltration is an important aspect of home energy audits. Air can leak in and out through cracks around windows, doors, and frames, around loosely fitted water pipes, out chimneys and through openings in walls. Caulking, weather stripping and insulation can help reduce the exchange of heat between the inside and outside of the residence. [28]


A negawatt is energy saved through efficiency measures and conservation. Negawatts reduce CO2 emissions, due to less use of fossil fuel energy. Another name for negawatts is "avoided energy" [29]

Winterizing a home

CCAT uses the most energy during the winter months[30] Winterizing helps a home stay warm without using extra energy. There are a few basic things you can do to winterize your home. [31]

  • Get rid of door draft. Any fabric can be used under the bottom of the door to keep air from coming through.
  • Replace or clean furnace filters: dust in filters cant constrict air flow making furnaces work harder to put out warm air.
  • Turn down the water heater
  • My person favorite, wear warmer clothes and wrap yourself in blankets.
  • Insulation: Insulation keeps heat from moving from warm areas to cold areas. Insulation can be installed in the ceilings, walls, and floors and around the water heater.[32]. There are also ways for you to insulate windows.[33]
  • Weather stripping : Weather stripping is installed on doors and windows, compressing the material when windows or doors are closed. The weather stripping seals the openings and decreases airflow. [34]
  • Caulking: The purpose of caulking is to seal cracks. Cracks can be filled from the inside and will lessen the amount of air entering and decrease the amount of water vapor entering. Large cracks should be filled from the outside. [35]

Team Net Zero Heroes Research

Objective: Conduct an energy audit at CCAT and create a feasible plan that can be implemented to reach net zero by 2016.

Net Zero Energy Concepts

Vivint and Garbett state that, "Net-zero simply means that a home produces as much energy as it consumes. Net zero homes minimize energy use through efficiency and meet remaining needs through renewable energy systems.

Net Zero House Examples

Many innovations are leading the way towards net-zero building, for example "The Zero Home" is an affordable new home that has reached a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating of zero. Through the partnership of Garbett Homes and Vivint, net-zero homes are making their way and becoming more affordable. For more information about "The Zero Home" please visit: <>

Efforts to promote net zero homes by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America (BA) program is working to increase the energy efficiency of new and existing homes while raising comfort, and durability and reducing resource use.According to Norton and Christensen, as part of this program there is pursuit towards opportunities to research highly efficient homes with the goal of understanding what works, what doesn’t work, and what are the most economic ways to reach very high efficiency targets. The program aims to create cost neutral zero energy homes by 2020. Norton and Christensen also state that, "In pursuit of this goal, this home and other research homes around the country designed to approach or achieve the zero energy goal are being built and studied."[36]

Home energy rating system (HERS)

The HERS Program was first carried out to address issues in construction and equipment installations that had been known to not been done properly. In an revision to the HERS Regulations[37], the rating of a home as a system (known as Whole House Home Energy Rating) was put forward, where a home is rated on a scale from 0 to 250 to show its efficiency compared to a reference home built to just meet the Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards' authoritative requirements.[38]

Residential Electricity

According to Stein and Meier, approximately 20% of all the energy consumed in the United States is consumed by the residential sector. Nowadays most of this energy can be saved cost-effectively by building new houses to be more energy-efficient and by modifying existing houses with more efficient equipment. Sadly, most of the chances to save energy, natural resources and money in houses are not apprehended because of market barriers such as lack of facts and lack of funding. HERS and related financial products, have the capability to assist the progress of identification and funding of a enormous number of such chances.[39]

Home Energy Auditing describes a home energy audit also known as a home energy assessment as the first step in assessing how much energy your home consumes and evaluating actions you can take to make your home more energy efficient. An assessment will also show you problems that can, when revised, save you serious amounts of money over time.

The Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT)[40] is a student run sustainability organization located at Humboldt State University. In a attempt to have CCAT run as a net-zero organization a home energy audit will first be conducted to assess energy use and output.

A list of stuff to do:

  • Go to CCAT and divide house into sections to be audited by team members.
  • Take an inventory of all energy consuming and producing items.
  • Calculate energy used and produced.
  • Compare data to energy bills.

Links to different templates:

  • Example of an Energy Audit Data Collection form[42]
  • Energy Savings Toolbox–An Energy Audit Manual and Tool [43]


  • According to the book “Energy for the 21st Century : A Comprehensive Guide to Conventional and Alternative Sources (2nd Edition)” Efficiency is needed heavily for the future. In 2006 the USA created 433 TeraWatt Hours, but we needed 18921 TeraWatt Hours. In 2030 it looks like we will 33265 TeraWatt Hours. In order to meet this requirement the USA will need to increase its Efficiency.[44]

Power and Energy

  • Power is the Rate at which energy flows. Energy is in all things, such as electricity, water, air, everything! Humans use energy for all sorts of things like powering a phone or computer with electricity. There are often times where using energy affects the environment. Like if someone burns coal for energy a lot of C02 comes out, which is and will cause massive problems. Luckily we have discovered some forms of clean energy, like windmills solar panels, and many more.

Renewable Energy

  • According to a Journal written by John A Turner Many people have the wrong idea that renewable energy costs more energy than it saves. He says that it takes 3 to 4 years to payback. John A Turner also says that the USA is the biggest energy consumer in the world. If that is correct then we have a bigger job to reduce energy consumption. So we should increase our renewables and stop using as much energy.[45]

Government Involvement when searched for implications into government involvement in net zero concepts and accountability shows little for how the government is actively involved in the net zero movement but does have a four-step guide so to speak, which gives examples in how to go about moving towards a net zero facility and is targeted mostly towards government run facilities and not towards home owners. Though this guide could actively be applied towards the common home owner as a set of guidelines into how to move towards net zero household.

  • On The Road to Net Zero EPA [46]

According to an article on Net Zero Housing, financial and monetary incentives need to be implecated by government and other organizations to make full net zero housing a worthwhile financial investment and not just an investment into the sustainability of the Earth. [47]

Net Zero Housing

There is a boom in housing options regarding net zero living. A surprising amount really considering a fair amount of these homes are simply buy and build style housing options. Such as the two websites below which hold events, informational gatherings, as well as their main attraction of highly formulated and detailed layouts of how to go about bringing your HERS down to zero and how to go about transitioning to a net zero home. As mentioned above the Garbett and Vivint partnership is a great example site on how to transition to net zero housing through their site The Zero Home [48]. Zero Homes is another site in which to brush up information on net zero housing.

Materials/Home Improvement for Net Zero Housing

  • Photovoltaics (PV)
  • "Passive solar design refers to the use of the sun’s energy for the heating and cooling of living spaces." According to Sustainable Resources [50] a Passive Solar design has proven to produce low energy cost, reduced maintenance, and provide great comfort. Windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy. This consist of heat in the winter and rejecting solar heat in the summer.
  • Solar water heating
  • Superinsulation
  • Sealing air leaks

Alternative Products/Appliances

  • LED lightbulbs
  • Skylights
  • Heat Exchanger aka "heat recovery ventilator"[51]
  • Induction Cooktop[52]

Maintenance of a Net Zero Home

  • Antifreeze-based Solar Thermal systems should have their pH checked annually.If needed the coolant should be replaced or added to help with performance and to avoid corrosion.[53]


For our interview, we went to CCAT and interviewed one of the house members Nick. He said there is no energy history of CCAT besides recent bills. They are currently working on a way to log the information and upload it online. For now no energy bills were provided to us. He said he believes the solar array to be about 2.3-2.4 kW. The main way the house is heated is through passive solar and he says overall the house is pretty well insulated. When it came to suggestions on how to move towards a net-zero household, he said that it is completely up to the Engineering 308 students and wants us to find inefficiencies.

Book Sources

  • Anderson, R. , Roberts, D. (2008). Maximizing Residential Energy Savings: Net Zero Energy Home Technology Pathways. Golden, Colo.: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
  • Norton, P. , & Christensen, C. (2008). Performance results from a cold climate case study for affordable zero energy homes. ASHRAE Transactions, 114, 218.[54]
  • Nersesian, Roy L.. Energy for the 21st Century : A Comprehensive Guide to Conventional and Alternative Sources (2nd Edition). Armonk, NY, USA: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 17 November 2014.

Peer Reviewed Articles

  • According to this article on a study conducted in Denmark's housing scope on PV installation and the amount of energy to be conducted via a Net Zero Housing option "that in order to build a cost-effective Net ZEB, the energy use should be reduced to a minimum leaving just a small amount of left energy use to be covered by renewable energy generation."[55]
  • Newell, B. (2014). Net zero homes. ASHRAE Journal, 56(5), 38.
  • Stein, J. , & Meier, A. (2000). Accuracy of home energy rating systems. Energy, 25(4), 339-354.[56]
  • Zmeureanu, R. , Fazio, P. , DePani, S. , & Calla, R. (1999). Development of an energy rating system for existing houses. Energy & Buildings, 29(2), 107-119[57]
  • A Realizable Renewable Energy Future John A. Turner Science,New Series, Vol. 285, No. 5428 (Jul. 30, 1999), pp. 687-689 Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science Article Stable URL:

Efficient_SEE-ERS Research

  • John Plaggmier
  • Wade Sedawie
  • Jacob Carroll-Johnson
  • Kekai Tanaka

Net Zero Energy

Energy creation ≥ Energy Consumption


Name: Painters Hall Location: Salem, OR, USA

Description: Pringle Creek’s Community Center, Café, Office, art gallery, and event venue. Open to the public, Painters Hall is a hub for gatherings of friends, neighbors, and visitors at the heart of a neighborhood designed around nature and community.

Notable Features: Demonstrates the potential of converting existing building stock into high‐performance, sustainable building sites. Painters Hall features simple low-­‐cost solutions for energy reduction, such as natural daylighting and passive cooling lighting. A district ground-­‐source geothermal loop serves the building’s GSHP for highly efficient heating and air conditioning. Excess generation from the 20.2 kW rooftop solar array offsets pumping for the neighborhoods geo loop system. Key pieces of furniture were fashioned out of heavy timbers and slabs from trees milled onsite. Materials collected from deconstructed buildings onsite were incorporated into the renovation of Painters Hall, and the building’s Zero Waste Initiative significantly reduces garbage produced by events and activities.

Specifications: Type + size of renewable energy system used: Rooftop 20.2 kW with 96 Solar Modules, consisting of four arrays (three sets of eight modules) on a railing system mounted 6 inches above the metal roof. Four PV Powered 4800 Inverters provide 20,160 watts DC STC.

Annual Energy Use

  • Actual: 19,845 kWh (67.66 MBtu) for dates 2/1/11 to 1/31/12
  • Designed: 19,563 kWh (66.7 MBtu)
  • Energy Use intensity: 20.83 kBtu/sf
  • Annual electricity generated: +2,297 kWh Excess Generation

Design End Use Breakdown

  • Heating & Cooling: +2,297 kWh Excess Generation
  • Interior Lights: 17.6 Mbtu
  • Misc Equipment: 30.0 Mbtu
  • Pumps: 3.1 Mbtu
  • Fans: 2.6 Mbtu
  • DHW: 1.2 Mbtu
  • Exterior Lighting: 0.0 Mbtu
  • EUI: 19.7 kBtu/sf

Source [58]

Solar Hybrid Cooking

Thermal system.jpg

  • System Designed by Larry Schlussler PhD [59]

More extreme efficiency measures described by Larry Schlussler can be found here.

Home Energy Auditing

Some brief introduction and general description.

A list of stuff to do[60]:

  • Do this
  • And this
  • And don't for get this.

Maybe some links to different templates:

Ghostface Killowatts

Desiree Martin
Carlos Sanchez
Maegan Mclean
Steven Wissel

Net Zero Energy Concepts

A net zero building consumes no extra energy from the grid, meaning all energy consumed in the building is created through renewables on site [61]. We will be analyzing CCAT's energy use and giving them suggestions on how they can reduce their energy use. The overall goal is to give suggestions for CCAT to become a net zero building by 2016. Our team will be doing a Home Energy Audit of CCAT, which will be a detailed report of what appliances are using the most energy. Our suggestions will also include an estimated cost for CCAT to run entirely off solar power.

Similar Devices to the KillAWatt/Home Energy Monitors

GEO’s smart energy Monitors (from the UK)

3 different monitors the Solo, Duet and Trio.

The energy data is expressed in multiple ways to engage the product user. The Solo display might show "a ‘speedometer’ to indicate instantaneous levels of electricity use; a ‘milometer’ which indicates the amount of electricity used each day expressed in kilowatt hours, pounds sterling or carbon dioxide emissions; and a ‘fuel tank’ enabling householders to set a daily budget which indicates whether this is being met or exceeded by displaying a tick or a cross symbol."

The Duet display is similar to the solo but has an extra screen that shows "boiler and radiator usage (this contains icons to show householders when the boiler or radiators are on, and also gives a percentage reading to indicate how much of the time – either over a 24-hour period or over the last 15 minutes the boiler and radiators have been operating) and up to 6 individual appliances. The appliances themselves must be plugged-in via a ‘PlugBug’ device, which transmits consumption data to the Duet unit."

"The Trio has a full colour display with a very wide range of monitoring options. Whilst the Solo and Duet are designed for self-installation involving simply clipping-on a transmitter to the electricity meter and, in the case of the Duet, to the boiler as well, the Trio demands professional installation by an electrician and a computer specialist as it involves a more extensive transmission system involving the household Wi-Fi system. Once installed it monitors heating, hot water usage (using the same system as the Duet), all electrical circuits in the home and up to 100 individual appliances (using PlugBugs). It can then display this information graphically, allowing householders to investigate their consumption patterns in more detail. For example, the Trio can display the consumption of a range of appliances over 24-hour or monthly periods, expressed in kilowatt hours, pounds sterling or carbon dioxide emissions.”[62]

Ways to Reduce Energy Use

“Examining how to motivate sustainable lifestyles that encompass a multitude of behaviors, as opposed to a few individual behaviors at a time, holds great promise of lasting and impactful change for a variety of reasons.

A list of some ways to reduce energy use:

  • Raise fridge/freezer temp
  • Turn off computer if away > 1 hr
  • Turn off monitor if away > 15 min
  • Unplug unused/ “off” appliances
  • Use powerstrips, turn off if not in use
  • Buy efficient washing machine
  • Turn off copier when not in use
  • Buy efficient dishwasher
  • Select “air-dry” or open door
  • Buy efficient refrigerator
  • Use a laptop not desktop
  • Turn off printer, not in use
  • Stop using screen saver
  • Use sleep mode if away < 1 hr
  • Use “energy saver” /“light wash”
  • Always run a full load
  • Apply low-emissivity window films
  • Sealed airducts
  • Installed skylights tunnels
  • Use space heater
  • Caulked and weatherstripped (doors and windows?)
  • Installed insulation
  • Turn off lights
  • Use curtains
  • Installed double pane windows
  • Turn down thermostat
  • Installed program. thermostat
  • Switched to CFLs"[63]

How to conduct a home energy audit

  • take an inventory of ALL energy using devices and make a list
  • estimate/average how long each device is used per day
  • plug each device into a KillAWatt to measure wattage each uses, turn device off to measure phantom wattage (If device has a sleep mode measure this as well, measure when refrigerator is “running” and not running) and record results.
  • calculate and compare with bill for accuracy[64]

a previous home energy audit of CCAT [65]

Net Zero Water

It would be difficult to implement net zero water in the allotted time but this is an interesting topic to explore and CCAT has already installed a catchment system. The first step would be to reduce water usage which could be done in the following ways (this list also includes some ways to reduce energy consumption as well via the water heater):

  • Buy solar water system
  • Buy tankless water heater
  • Take shorter showers
  • Insulate water pipes
  • Wash clothes cold water
  • Insulate water heater
  • Lower water heater temperature
  • Buy efficient water heater
  • Wash a full load
  • Install low-flow showerheads
  • Install faucet aerators”[66]

“One hundred percent of occupants’ water use must come from captured precipitation or closed loop water systems that account for downstream ecosystem impact and that are appropriately purified without the use of chemicals.”

“One hundred percent of stormwater and building water discharge must be managed on-site to feed the project’s internal water demands or released onto adjacent sites for management through acceptable natural time-scale surface flow, groundwater recharge, agricultural use or adjacent building needs.” [67]

Example of a Net Zero Energy Building

The Equinox House is a great example of a net zero energy building in the Central Illinois city of Urbana. All of the energy used in the house is from the photovoltaic solar panels in the form of columns. The solar array output is 8.2 kW. The building has very thick insulation consisting of 12 inch Structural insulated panels (SIPs), which results in a decrease in energy use related to heating and cooling. The authors of the article have worked in solar energy and helped extensively with the project design. One of their main goals was to educate the public and their community about net zero energy building and show that it is not out of reach. [68]

What is a KillAWatt

A KillAWatt is a device/meter that tell us how much power(up to 15 amps) an appliance runs on. The KillAWatt plugs into the wall, power source(110volts), and the appliance plugs into the KillAWatt. Which then displays the power it draws, on an LCD screen. And it can also be used to check the quality of power that is supplied by the outlet. By knowing how much power a device draws one can calculate how much energy it uses. This can be very helpful if one would like to make a home energy audit.[69]

Team TurnDownForWATTs Research

Objective: We'll be analyzing the energy use of CCAT and creating a plan to reach net zero by 2016.

Net Zero Energy Concepts

  • According to Lstiburek (2014), a zero energy house produces all its necessary energy on site using renewable technologies; also usually the house is off grid, providing energy storage.[70] The main goal of our group is to analyze the energy use of CCAT through a home energy audit and to create a plan to reach net zero by 2016, especially through PV modules installation.
  • Although most case studies of Net Zero homes call for homes that are “Build tight, and ventilation right"[71], it will be more plausible for our class to focus on implementing renewable resources technology and energy conservation techniques to achieve net zero rather than trying to create an airtight seal over the entire CCAT building.

Examples of Net Zero Homes

  • Despite producing a surplus of energy across the whole year, a solar net-zero house in Maryland had a few winter months of energy deficit [72].
  • The Zero Energy House - Auckland, New Zealand a home designed to achieve net zero energy over the course of the year through energy efficient features and solar energy systems[73][74].
  • Yoklic, Martin, Mark Knaebe, Karen MartinsonIntegrating Net-zero Energy and High-performance Green Building Technologies into Contemporary Housing in a Cold Climate. Madison, Wis.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, 2010[75].

Residential Electricity

  • Does a Motion-Activated Light Switch Save Money? The room that I think would be the most effective for such a switch would be the bathroom. I can speak from experience that restroom lights are often left on, particularly in the evening hours. While these are usually “caught” before I go to bed, there’s often an hour or two of several bulbs burning, eating up the energy[76].

LED Lighting

  • LEDs are “directional” light sources which means they emit light in a specific direction, unlike incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs which emit light – and heat – in all directions. For this reason, LED lighting is able to use light and energy more efficiently in many applications. However, it also means that sophisticated engineering is needed to produce an LED light bulb that shines light all around like an incandescent A-shape bulb[77].

Solar Water Heater

  • Cheap and Easy Passive Solar Water Heater for your Home. ($300) Heat your water for free with a solar water heater. This $300 DIY solar water heater system even includes an electric backup water heater for cloudy days. It heats water to 135F (55C) on sunny days in a 80 gallon (310 liter) tank - and there are no moving parts - it relies in a thermosyphon to circulate the water[78].

Energy History of CCAT

  • CCAT has developed many projects involving the conservation of energy such as solar electricity, solar water heating, passive solar heating, pedal power tools, thermal curtains, and a wind turbine. Currently, CCAT consumes less than 5% of the average energy consumption in the USA[79].

Types of Appliances

  • “Short of using a solar cooker, you’d be hard pressed to find a more efficient way of cooking [than a pressure cooker]”[80].

Home Energy Auditing

  • Performing a home energy audit will help to assess the energy consumption of the structure. With the energy consumption information at hand it is possible to make changes that will result in a more energy-efficient home. For this to be possible it is necessary to be diligent to identify the problems. Conducting an audit should inspect ‘walkingthrough’ points such as locating air leaks, insulation, heating/cooling, and lighting[81].

What a KillAWatt or Similar Device is

  • Plug an appliance in to a Kill A Watt meter to measure it’s electrical consumption[82].

Energy Efficiency

  • “Energy efficiency is ‘using less energy to provide the same service’”[83].There are countless ways to be more energy efficient. One simple and inexpensive way is by replacing your incadescent light bulbs with compact flourescent light bulbs. Another way to be more energy efficient is by purchasing ENERGY STAR appliances("ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency")[84]. Homes, cars, and factories can all have gains in efficiency and use less energy, but with these gains comes a cost. One of the most widely used tools to analyze these costs is energy payback.

Energy Payback

  • Energy payback is an economic tool designed to show how long it will take a device to save enough energy to pay back it's initial investment. This economic tool is very useful for consumers and investors. Consumers should use this tool when thinking about adding solar pv systems to their homes or when they vote on legislation to build wind farms in their area. Investors must use this tool when thinking about opening a new factory or simply when they are trying to make efficiency gains in an already existing factory. This tool can be used for comparing new technologies or replacing old technologies with new ones.
  • Total initial cost/(Annual energy cost savings - Annual operating costs)= Payback Time [85]
  • "When designing houses for clients I try to convince them that spending more money on energy efficient materials now, will save them more money in the future".[86]

Energy Economics

  • The biggest driver in energy technologies is economics. As a capitalist society it is imperative to cut costs of energy production in a clean responsible manner. These costs can include money, pollution, and resources. If we as a society decide to produce dirty, cheap energy, what does that hold for our future? It will lead to a sick, unproductive society, where the natural resources we desperately need will be of no use because they are destroyed. we must innovate and build new technologies that can produce as much as, if not more than the old technologies. If we can not create these new technologies we must look at ways to use our current technologies more efficiently. Economics is about give and take, if we want/need something, we will have to give something up in order to get it. We must start investing in new technologies so we can bring the prices down and make them competitive with already existing technologies. [87]

Energy Awareness

The general public does not know or care about energy issues. This creates the first step in fixing our energy issues. We must educate the public. There are many ways to do this and a combination of them is going to be the best way to educate the public. "A majority (58%) of the respondents think Saudi Arabia is the largest foreign supplier of oil to the U.S., while only 13% recognize Canada as having that distinction".[88] Knowledge is power.


  • “Now induction will cook food around twenty to twenty-five percent quicker than your traditional butane or gas. It’s energy efficient. It draws fifteen amps, but the savings is in how quick it cooks.”[89].
  • Interview: Building Science Pioneer Dr. Joe Lstiburek on the Good, Bad and Ugly Side of Buildings | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building[90].
  • Interview: Paul Schwer, P.E. LEED AP, President of PAE Consulting Engineers, Inc. “Detailed knowledge of how energy will be used in the building will inform choices about where to save energy. Architectural factors such as building orientation, massing and geometry, percentage glazing, insulating values for walls, roof and glass, and daylighting obviously have a huge impact on overall building energy use.”[91]
  • Interview: Paul Schwer, P.E. LEED AP, President of PAE Consulting Engineers, Inc. “Detailed knowledge of how energy will be used in the building will inform choices about where to save energy. Architectural factors such as building orientation, massing and geometry, percentage glazing, insulating values for walls, roof and glass, and daylighting obviously have a huge impact on overall building energy use.”[92]

Book Resources

  • Cook, M. (2009). Energy Efficiency in Old Houses. Ramsbury: Crowood.
  • Anderson, R. , Roberts, D. (2008). Maximizing Residential Energy Savings: Net Zero Energy Home Technology Pathways. Golden, Colo.: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
  • Black, Dave. (2008). Living Off The Grid. Skyhorse Publishing. New York, NY.
  • U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Program (2005). Builders and Buyers Handbook for Improving New Home Efficiency, Comfort, and Durability in Cold and Very Cold Climates. Washington, D.C.

Peer reviewed Articles

  • Putting a heated pressure cooker into an insulated box resulted in unprecedentedly low energy costs while cooking potatoes and beans[93].
  • Net zero homes have positive impacts as reducing energy, increasing sustainability, generating new jobs, but it is necessary to evaluate the indoor environment[94].
  • Two fundamental principles were employed: “Build tight, ventilation right” and contaminant source control. The first principle was pursued by constructing the building with a tight exterior envelope. While this approach is not new, particularly in northern Europe, the U.S. is still catching up with the latest airtightness construction practice (3). The goal for this house was that it be extremely airtight, for a U.S. home, through the use of a continuous air barrier system[95].
  • Edmonton, Alberta – It’s a beautiful, livable, functional net-zero experiment - Welcome to the home of architect Shafraaz Kaba[96].

Another Watt Saved

Net Zero Energy Concepts

Living Building Challenge defines Net Zero Energy as, "exceptional energy conservation and then on-site renewables to meet all of its heating, cooling and electricity needs." [97] A collaboration of ideas and goals to fully minimize energy use has lead to development of and rise of community centers, research labs, classrooms, park and centers for sustainable living. [98]

Home Energy Auditing

Conducting a home energy audit on a facility, home, center of any kind will help identify and isolate where energy consumption is used. By obtaining this knowledge and awareness of where the consumption of energy comes from it then becomes possible to analyze the information and make changes. Inspection throughout the whole facility must be made carefully to not miss any potential energy usage. This inspection will help calculate and determine how much energy the facility uses. In addition to full house inspection a sense of energy use can be obtained by looking at electricity bills and appliances on the premises.

Where to Start

In designing a dwelling with a net zero energy consumption rate there is a comprehensive 10 step plan for achieving the goal that can be viewed at the consumers leisure on a number of websites.[99] Before thinking about producing the energy one requires on a yearly basis, that is to produce the energy a home consumes entirely, one must reduce their consumption significantly. It is advised that a net zero energy home be all electric with great insulation.[100]

A list of stuff to do:

  • Gather all bills from recent months
  • Change behavior- raise self awareness of surroundings
  • Conduct self home energy audit [101]

Conducting a home energy audit

By conducting your own energy audit, one will know their energy consumption and become familiar with what appliances and activities consume the most energy. A useful tool is the Killawatt, an in-home energy monitor that is easy to use and helpful [102]

How to use a Killawatt/energy monitor

1. Measure the watts of all appliances when in use. 2. Calculate daily/monthly watt usage. 3. Find a more efficient appliance for those that are consuming more energy than expected or making the appliance more efficient.

Using the Home Energy Rating System

Designed by the US Department of Energy, the HERS will give the more efficient homes a lower number on its index. For example, a home that is truly net zero would rate zero. The insulation of the home is first accounted for. How well the home is air-sealed, through its doors, windows and walls is significant. Then the efficiency of appliances, cooling, heating and lighting systems are analyzed. This information is used to calculate how much energy is being consumed by the home on average in order to find how much energy must be produced by the home in order to be at net zero energy. [103]


Steps[104] [105]

1) With a Designer/architect that has knowledge of Zero Energy Home (ZEH) design, create a project team which will consist of: owner, builder, energy consultant, and landscaper.

2) In collaboration with the team choose the site. When considering the use of solar arrays, it is ideal to have the roof ridge line run east-west to get a south facing slope.

3) Use energy modeling to figure out the most cost-efficient home. (This will likely be done by the Energy Consultant).

4) Super seal/insulate the building envelope.

5) Minimize thermal bridging. [106]

6) Use highly insulated doors and walls. It is important to balance insulation. It is not any more important to have a highly insulated roof than it is to have highly insulated walls, windows and/or doors.

7) Use the sun for passive solar gain.

8) Use the sun (and wind in Arcata) for electricity/hot water.

9) Decide on appropriate Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) or Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system to efficiently supply fresh air and manage humidity.

10) Install energy efficient lights, electronics, appliances and heating/cooling systems. Energy efficient appliances will be very helpful, but there is also efficient ways of using the appliances. For example, when using CFL or LED lighting instead of the higher CO2 emitting incandescent, you can still use the lighting more efficiently if you think about lighting surfaces with the light bulbs, rather than lighting spaces. If the lighting hits brighter walls and areas, you illuminate more than trying to light up the spaces directly.

Wind Power Alternatives

"The Caltech design targets that power by relying on vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWTs) in arrangements that place the turbines much closer together than is possible with horizontal-axis propeller-style turbines.

VAWTs provide several immediate benefits, according to Dabiri, including effective operation in turbulent winds like those occurring near the ground, a simple design (no gearbox or yaw drive) that can lower costs of operation and maintenance, and a lower profile that reduces environmental impacts.

Two of the primary reasons VAWTs aren't more prominently used today are because they tend to be less efficient individually, and the previous generation of VAWTs suffered from structural failures related to fatigue." [107]


  1. Humboldt Plagiarism
  2., a book title, or even an interview
  3. A link to where to find more
  14. A link to where to find more
  19. Energy and Buildings,
  21. 10 steps to net zero
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Schaefer,L., Bilec,M., Jones,A., Landis,A., Campion,N., et al. (2013). A materials life cycle assessment of a net-zero energy building. Energies, 6, 1125-1141.
  23. Thumann, A. (1992). Handbook of energy audits (3rd ed.). Lilburn, Ga.: Fairmont Press
  26. CCAT co-director, personal communication, November 14, 2104.
  27. A link to where to find more
  28. The Residential Energy Audit Manual. (1981). Atlanta: Fairmont Press.
  29. Negawatt hour. (2014, March 1). The Economist. Retrieved from
  30. Sean Armstrong, Personal Communication, November 14, 2014.
  32. The Residential Energy Audit Manual. (1981). Atlanta: Fairmont Press.
  34. The Residential Energy Audit Manual. (1981). Atlanta: Fairmont Press.
  35. The Residential Energy Audit Manual. (1981). Atlanta: Fairmont Press.
  60. A link to where to find more
  61. "US Department of Energy"
  62. Hargreaves, T. , Nye, M. , & Burgess, J. (2010). Making energy visible: A qualitative field study of how householders interact with feedback from smart energy monitors. Energy Policy, 38(10), 6111-6119. (
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  64. Personal Experience
  66. Wilkinson, E. (2012). Effectiveness of a San Francisco Bay Area Community Education Program on Reducing Home Energy Use. n.p.: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing.
  67. Cascadia Green Living Council,“Regulatory Pathways to Net Zero Water: Guidance for Innovative Water Projects in Seattle Phase II: Summary Report” February 2011. (
  68. ""Net Zero Energy Project." by Ty Newell and Ben Newell. ASHRAE Journal, 52.9 (2010): 88-89."
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  87. Cipiti, Ben. The Energy Construct: Achieving a Clean, Domestic, and Economical Energy Future. North Charleston, SC: urge, 2007. Print
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  95. / Publications & Resources / HVAC Journal / 2014 / 03/2014 / Indoor Air Quality Specifications for a Netzero Energy Research Home (