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Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Zero Energy different from other builders who claim to be a “green builder?”
Zero Energy builds new homes to the NAHB National Green Building Standard and each home is third party certified to the standard to ensure that each home is truly built green. Lance Manlove is a certified Green Building Professional and he can assist you making sure your home designed and built the standard. In the end, each client will receive a plaque designating the level of green the home achieved (bronze, silver, gold, emerald)
Are there any incentives or rebates currently available to build green?
Yes, there are a number of local and federal incentives now available - below is a short list but call us for more specific information that might pertain for your project.

  • Solar PV - Federal 30% tax credit - State 25% rebate
  • Solar Hot Water - Federal 30% tax credit - State 25% rebate
  • Geothermal - Federal 30% tax credit - up to $3000 rebate
  • Wind - Federal 30% tax credit - State 25% rebate
  • General upgrade for windows, insulation, hot water heater, etc... - $1,500 one-time Federal tax credit
What is the key component to a Zero Energy Home?
The building envelope and the house orientation are two key components to achieving Zero Energy in your home. There are three accepted methods for making a building envelope for your home.

  1. ICF or Insulated Concrete Forms
  2. SIP or Structural Insulated Panel
  3. Wood Framing with spray foam insulation
How many panels do I need to power my home?
It depends on a number of variables but for this area on the Delmarva Peninsula I have developed a simple formula that works well for a quick estimate. 1.) figure out your electric usage is per year 2.) divide that total kw usage for a factor of 260 3.) that number is how many 200W panels you will need to install to achieve net zero energy consumption 4.) multiply that number by 200 to get a resultant total solar array size.
Example:
Total KW usage = 8348kw per year
8348/260 = 32 panels needed
32*200W = 6.4kw system
Can you collect and store rainwater?
Yes, we design rainwater collection systems for residential homes. There is a wide range of the design complexity for rainwater collection systems. They can be as simple as a rain barrel connected to a gutter downspout or is can be a complex underground 10,000gal tank system with float shut offs. The rainwater that is harvested can be used to water the lawn or flower beds, wash a car, or be piped into the house to flush toilets.
Can I really afford a Green Home - I hear they can be expensive?
There are many ways for us to help you build a green home without breaking the bank. Please contact us and schedule a meeting to discuss your project details.
If I do not want to build a new home at this time, are there things I can do to my existing home to make it more “green?”
The first thing you should do is get an energy audit from a qualified contractor and see where and how you can tighten up your house from air leaks. Next, look at increasing or replacing the insulation in the home which would also include conditioning the crawl space and attic space. Install CFL light bulbs throughout your house for better energy efficiency. Once you have exhausted the options resulting from the energy audit, you can look at various renewable energy systems to neutralize your energy consumption.
Give me an example of “green flooring”
There are a lot of great green flooring options available today and below is a short list of the few that we have used.

  1. Reclaimed hardwood floors
  2. Cork tiles
  3. Bamboo flooring
  4. Smart Strand PET recycled carpet
  5. Stained polished concrete flooring
 

The main goal with a Zero Energy Home is to become energy independent, producing all that you will consume and consuming only what you need.

The initial cost is typically more compared to conventional construction but your investment will pay off in the long run. Also, many state and federal rebates and grants are available to homeowners who want to build a Zero Energy Home – the time to act is now