When building a home, many attributes are taken into consideration. One of the bigger trends in the industry is energy conservation.
"A net zero home is a home that produces more energy than it consumes. It's achieved through photovoltaic solar panels, using energy star rated appliances, low consumption hot water, and using rain water collection," said Andy Ellis, a custom home builder.
While solar panels and rain water collection are key, the most important part of achieving a net zero home is air sealing.
"Proper air sealing between the walls, the ceiling. No breaks in the cavities around windows and doors. In a traditional home it's very difficult to air seal properly. The concrete form is big advantage in net zero achievement because no air is going to go through the corners or there is no studs to worry about for air leakage," said Ellis.
That insulated concrete form, which almost lego like, is very different material than typically used to construct a home.
"Insulted concrete (ICF) form. There's a foam block that is stacked together. They have truss webbing in between them. It's filled with concrete and rebar. We put everything together from the footing to the trusses," said Ellis.
Now this may seem like it would be more costly endeavor than a traditionally built home, but that's not necessarily the case.
"The building materials are about the same. The real savings comes to the consumer. It doesn't take any more time to build or cost any more material wise to build this custom home than any other traditional stick built home," said Ellis.
And if your house produces more energy than it needs from the solar panels, you may actually be able to make money from the power companies.