There’s only so much you can do to make an existing home more energy efficient. To truly go carbon neutral and use less energy, sometimes you have to build an energy efficient home from scratch.
Solar power is an important part of any energy efficient home. By generating your own power, you’re cutting down on utility bills, reducing your carbon footprint, and ensuring you stay independent from electricity companies.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to building a truly sustainable home with solar.
The road to energy efficiency starts with careful design. There are a number of energy efficient materials and construction practices that should be integrated into any design of an energy efficient home - solar-powered or otherwise. Consult with architects and builders who specialise in efficiency to ensure you incorporate these principles.
Solar power works at its best when it's paired with the right energy efficient home design. Going above and beyond the bare minimum to pass CCC makes a huge difference to the liveability - and ongoing costs! - of any solar-powered home.
The orientation of a home’s roof makes a huge difference to the efficiency of solar panels and other aspects of an energy efficient home.
There are 3 main types of solar system suitable for your newly built home.
Each of these systems vary in size, depending on your power need, but all of them can help you create an energy efficient home.
What system should I pick?
Every family and every home is different, so it’s best to speak with an expert to get an idea of your needs and the system that’s right for you. We’ve found that most homeowners choose a grid-tied system, but new home builds have a lot of opportunity to go for more complex and powerful options, integrating them into the design from the get-go.
Energy efficient homes benefit from an equally efficient heating system! Solar power can fuel any kind of heating solution you may want for your new home, as long as it relies on electricity. This includes heat pumps, which are generally considered the most energy efficient heating solution, and can provide cooling options as well.
Best of all with a new build is the ability to design a temperature control system that’s holistic, designed specifically for your family’s and home design’s needs. This means fewer compromises on heat pump placement - you can pick where it goes before other factors get in the way.
Remember, solar powered heating works best when it is combined with effective insulation design and materials. Ensure that your energy efficient home has excellent insulation in the windows, walls, roof and foundation to get more out of your system.
Water heating can often be one of the most expensive utility bills you can have, even with an energy efficient home. The right solar power system can help reduce that bill with a solar diverter.
Solar power can power any electrical appliance in the same way as the mains can. This includes water heaters, like swimming pool warmers and boilers. A solar diverter in your home means these power-hungry devices always have some solar power set aside specifically for their operation.
These can work with any kind of water heating device you choose for your energy efficient home, as long as they are electrically powered.
Make your home truly energy efficient with a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle charger.
EVs of all descriptions are becoming more and more popular in New Zealand, particularly with the new rebate offered by the NZ Government. Chances are, if you don’t already have an electric vehicle, you may want or need one in the near future. Best to design ahead!
A vehicle charger in the garage of a solar-powered, energy-efficient home is the same as a vehicle charger in a typical home. Simply plug your vehicle in to allow it to charge. They are best paired with solar power systems that have batteries, allowing you to charge your vehicle overnight without having to draw on the grid.
You won’t need a huge system to power your vehicle either. Even a small system can provide enough power to completely charge an EV, depending on the season.
There are many factors to consider when building an energy efficient home. Location, design, materials and technology all contribute to how much - or how little - energy a home requires. Solar power is a huge and increasingly important part of that calculation.
Solar panels and an accompanying solar power system can help reduce a home’s impact on the environment as well as the utility bills, and they work at their best when placed in a home with energy efficient design in mind.
For more information on incorporating solar power into your new home design, get in touch with the expert team at ZEN Energy.
"It’s been great. We have noticed savings from the very start, the wine was nice I won’t lie. Our bills are 40-50% less."
"I was skeptical about the savings at first, we are now saving over 50% on our power bills, summer ones have dropped from $450 to $200 and winter has gone from $660 down to $320. We are happy with how persistent Jake was, the results are great"
“Pretty good I am a country bumkin so pretty good is pretty good, our winter bills have dropped from $400 – $260 & summer from $130 down to $60. I have been recommending ZEN to anyone who asks”