From prefab to passive, you don’t need to be necessarily entrenched in the green building scene to have noticed that there have been a whole lot of green building buzzwords floating around lately. As part of the One Simple Thing series, CNN recently paid a visit to the buzz-worthy Colorado home of Jeff Hohensee. Buzz-worthy how? It’s considered to be a net-zero energy home, one of about 100 similar residences in the U.S. that can claim to produce as much or more energy than they consume.
Taking advantage of federal tax breaks and rebates, Hohensee invested about $50,000 — he hopes to break even in about eight years — in order to achieve the “the holy grail of green living” and cut the energy consumption of his existing home by more than 80 percent.
Hohensee's net-zero energy quest started off small: he went to town with a caulk gun, sealing up air leaks around his humble abode. Next, he reinsulated his attic, installed new doors and windows, and ditched one of the most energy-guzzling appliances in his home: the clothes dryer. And to reach the final level of net-zero energy-dom, Hohensee installed rooftop solar panels. The solar panels supply his home with electricity and hot water, often producing more juice than his home actually needs. When that's the case, the electricity is fed back into the grid.