California is three years closer to reaching its goal: for all newly built homes to come equipped with zero net energy by 2020. Zero net energy, or ZNE, utilizes solar PV to achieve energy efficiency in the home while generating clean, renewable, and on-site power. The homes will produce more energy than the average homeowner will consume.
The benefits of ZNE housing come from the environmental impacts produced by average residential homes. In fact, up to 10% of energy consumed by homes is used in lighting. Homeowners in California are particularly hefty energy consumers too, ranking as the second-largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the state. California governor Jerry Brown has already made an effort to combat against the first-largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the state: power-plants.
On Tuesday July 25, Brown signed off on the extension of the state’s climate change bill, prolonging the period of its enactment to range for another 10 years. The bill requires power plants and other large corporations to request a permit for each ton of greenhouse gasses they emit. The idea is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses, which are a large contributing factor to air pollution, released into the atmosphere.
Now, with the future of zero net energy housing on the horizon beginning in 2020, if all goes according to California legislature’s goal the housing market’s greenhouse gasses will be reduced significantly as well.
And while the number of energy-efficient homes is currently small, Kurt Hummel of Vista Mar believes the likelihood of their increased popularity is high. Vista Mar sells energy-efficient, eco-conscious homes at affordable prices. Many of the homes include features such as LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, solar paneled roofing, and pre-wired electric vehicle garages.
“Home shoppers are as energy-conscious today as they are price-and-mortgage-savvy,” Hummel told The San Diego Union Tribune. “They are looking for ways to not only reduce their monthly bills but also their impact on overall energy consumption.”
The change to solar-panelled and LED lighting will create a significant difference as 16% of homeowners believe outdoor lighting is an important feature for curb appeal. Now, it seems, California’s housing will not just have curb appeal, but environmental appeal by 2020 as well.