Two years ago we decided that it would be a good idea to move closer to one of our daughters as a way to plan for the future, both of us about to hit 70.. One was in Radnor and the other in Ringoe NJ. Radnor a over populated suburb Philadelphia, and Ringos a rural are of NJ close to Flemington. Daughter #1 children are in their teens and daughter #2 children at the time 2 and note here yet. So rural Hunterdon County NJ won out. And Flemington had lots of services which made it a good location to age in.
We need to build or find a one floor house to age in place in. All the one floor house in the area were built in the 50s, 60, or 70s. All had poor insulation, poor windows and small rooms. Nothing met our needs, so the only answer was to build a new house. An aging in place house.
I knew I could build something more energy efficient the I could buy, but I had no idea of how efficient of a house I could build. I started looking at energy efficient building techniques and methods. First I came across a Passive House (Passivhaus in German). A concept developed in the early 1990s in Germany. A house built to a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficient in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for heating or cooling. Products certified to the German PH standard is the rating in the world. i.e. for a window to have a German PH certification tell you it is one of the best energy efficient windows on the market. A Passive House besides being energy efficient also try’s to capture solar energy to help heat the house. A good concept, but I’ve since decided, among with a number bright people, there are flaws in chasing passive solar heat energy. One big one is over heating the house in the summer. Solvable but………view this video
In my research I also came across the term Net-Zero house. This standard is more of a US Dept. of Energy development . Transformation Inc, Carter Scott had been building Net-Zero house since 2004 in the Boston suburbs. And I read a number of US DoE & Canadian studies on Net-Zero and just felt that was the way I should go. I didn’t need a certificate, I was just looking for 1) a comfortable house to age in; 2) to cut our energy bill as low as possible.
This is the story of our path to a Net-Zero house.
PS. This is my first blog so be patient me. Also I’m a creative speller, I believe spelling is an art and why be stuck spelling words the same way all the time. Please enjoy, and watch for updates. ED