What Is A Net Zero Home and How Can It Benefit You?

New homes are more energy efficient than ever, helping owners save money on their monthly bills and reduce their impact on the environment.

While there are different ways to build an energy efficient home, one of the methods rising in popularity is called “net zero energy.”

In a net zero home, the energy used in a year is less than or equal to the amount of energy the home has generated that year. So, how does a net zero home generate its own energy? The usual choice is with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which capture the sun’s energy and transform it into electricity. Of course, a well-insulated, airtight building envelope is also necessary to achieve a net-zero home.

Generally, the following are needed to have a net-zero home in our climate:

  • ENERGY STAR® certified appliances;
  • A high-efficiency heat recovery ventilator;
  • A heat pump with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating of 18 or higher and a heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) rating of 10 or higher;
  • LED lighting;
  • R-5 (triple-glazed/paned) windows;
  • R-10 slab insulation;
  • R-40 wall insulation;
  • R-60 roof insulation;
  • Air tightness of 1.5 air changes per hour (or less)

Sawlor Built Homes Custom Home 4 Living Room

These are not the only considerations for a net-zero home. The orientation of the home on the lot, the number of window openings, and the total heating air volume of the home are important to pay attention to in order to get maximum results.

Double Wall ConstructionThe structure itself must also be considered, as a 2x6 wall with exposed studs for thermal bridging will not achieve net-zero status. 

There are several cost-effective and proven methods to increase the structure’s thermal performance, including double wall construction and insulated sheathing.

The Government of Canada and industry-leading builders are promoting net zero and other energy efficient designs for new homes. Discuss options with your builder before starting construction on your new home, and enjoy increased comfort, energy and cost savings for years to come. 


Keith Sawlor Sawlor Built Homes Custom Home Builder in Nova Scotia

Keith Sawlor

Keith Sawlor is the second generation Owner of Sawlor Built Homes. With more than 35 years experience building custom homes in Nova Scotia, Keith has built a team that mirrors his professional knowledge and values.

Keith is a Certified Residential Builder who is also certified with many leading industry organizations. He is a Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) Certified Builder, a Net Zero Energy (NZE) Certified Builder, a Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) R-2000 Certified Builder, and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS).

Keith is a Board Member of the Atlantic Home Warranty Program as well as the Canadian Home Builders' Association Nova Scotia. He is involved in many other industry programs and associations, such as the Canadian Home Builders’ Association National, Safety Services Nova Scotia and Better Business Bureau.

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Your continuing care and concern since the move, have serviced to reinforce to us that our decision to contract with Sawlor Construction was the right decision.

Donna & Robert


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