Deep Energy Renovation: How Deep Can You Go?

How deep can you go in Deep Energy Renovation? Can you cut the utility bill 50%? 75%? 90%? Can you go all the way to Zero? Where the energy bill is Zero? Can you go even further, and become an energy producer? Free ink stampOf course with enough renewables such as photovoltaic solar or wind power, we can go all the way to Zero and even become a net energy producer.

Of course it’s possible, especially if you have an unlimited budget. Maybe a research grant or some access to stimulus money or a “demonstration project”….

But on this site the question is always, How much can we do in the plain old free enterprise system? No unlimited budgets here. It’s true, that as an Energy-Wise Investor, I can do whatever I want to the home. That’s the part that makes me feel like a Home Performance Contractor who’s “died and gone to heaven” My only constraint is that the house has to sell at the end of the day. If I “over improve” the project for the market, I’ll be stuck with a break-even or even lose money. Not a good plan for marital peace…

electric meter

So how low can you go as an Energy-Wise House Flipping Investor? Now that we’ve completed 10 homes, I’ve determined that Zero is possible, even with no stimulus funds or grants. We’ve found that with the improvements that we’ve been making on our typical packages, that our customers’ bills are so low that it wont take too much more to eliminate the remaining electric bill with Solar PV. Actually what we will be shooting for at GreenEarthEquities is “Near Net Zero” or NNZ for our homes. Our Utility Company charges 12 to 48 cents per kilowatt. The cheap kilowatts are called the lifeline allowance. The goal in the NNZ home is to never buy any but the cheapest kilowatts. And actually be at zero many months of the year.

Photovoltaic Panels on Roof

I’m excited about our new goal. We are starting right now on a house that we will finish soon. It isn’t a perfect candidate because we kept some things that aren’t optimal. A 10 year old air conditioner, one ton oversized for our new load, and some metal framed dual pane windows. But we did put cellulose in the walls and sealed the shell so tight that we needed some “On Purpose” ventilation. (Panasonic ERV in this case) We’ll share the results here as we finish up the project, put it on the market, get it sold, and follow the new home owner’s experience and utility bills.

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