The Last Word

Nothing isn't nothing ... at all

By Herb Lagois

A big fat zero.

Nada.

Nothing.

But it’s not nothing. In fact, it’s something really big.

Net Zero isn’t just another buzzword. A Net Zero home actually produces as much energy as it consumes.

It’s happening now with new homes. But what about older homes? Is Net Zero possible?

Yes indeed.

But you need people who know exactly how to convert to Net Zero. The skills they have are vast and exacting. As a renovator, it’s my opinion that every renovator needs to be trained in the science of Net Zero.

For a Net Zero renovation, from a building science perspective, every piece of your home needs to be considered. If something is ignored or missed, it can create a worse scenario than before — such as comfort and indoor air quality issues.

If you’re just considering a smaller renovation like a kitchen, Net Zero-trained RenoMark® renovators can help advise. They can import practices like Built Green where reducing the environmental impact of residential construction is an important practice and ultimately important for all of us.

Having said that, it’s still good practice to think and design holistically. Maybe your kitchen renovation is just the start of your net zero journey. Whole house renovations are the best opportunity for net zero renovations.

Ask your renovator how all stakeholders are involved in the design process: energy advisors, mechanical designers, solar designers, electricians, insulators, and framers, just to name a few. They must understand each other’s roles and how important it is to work together towards the Net Zero goal. That’s because Net Zero CANNOT be an afterthought. It must start at the design phase.

Tip: Demanding credentials is only one part of finding a renovator who is right for you. It’s paramount that you are heard and understood, and that they have the means to bring your project to fruition. Trust requires homework.

Net Zero renovations cost more. But think of this: What if your energy costs become neutral? What if you can feed back to the grid? Imagine the positive environmental impact on future generations!

Products like cold climate heat pumps are becoming more mainstream, so the incremental cost of renovating to net zero is not as overwhelming as might have seemed in the past.

There are many simple environmental things your renovator can accomplish with your renovations – such as carbon neutral (electrification), Built Green techniques, all the way to Net Zero or even better: Net Positive. (If your home produces more energy, it’s known as Net Positive.)

A trained RenoMark® renovator can help advise and guide you and remove the “buzz” from the words Net Zero.

Herb Lagois is the founder of Lagois Design·Build·Renovate.

 

 


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