Sun The first principle of zero-net energy homes is passive solar orientation. The long side of the house faces south, and has 50% of the windows. This allows the low-angled sun to provide free heat in the winter, while overhangs keep the higher angled summer sun out in summer, keeping the house cooler. The large west facing covered porches also keep out the sun in summer. The long uninterrupted span of south facing roof provides an ideal location for the solar panels that provide electricity for the home.
Earth The brick and concrete are materials of the earth to provide thermal mass for the home. The thermal mass of the earth is tapped by the geoechange HVAC systems.
Wind Windows are positioned throughout the house for natural cross-ventilation. Interior windows, vents and central staircase allow for natural convection currents inside. Ceiling fans in every room circulate air and keep heating and air conditioning costs down
Fire In the "not-quite-net-zero-energy" home plans shown on these following pages, fire is included. Historically, the fireplace is the heart of the home, and there is no way yet to actually achieve carbon-free fire. So with these plans we have reduced the carbon emissions of the home by 98% (instead of 100%) of normal and included a natural gas cooktop range and a couple of gas fireplaces. If you can live without these gas appliances, you can achieve 100% net-zero-energy with these plans.