About NZE Network
NZE Network was started by David Knight of Monterey Energy Group, a mechanical engineering and energy efficiency consulting firm located in Pacific Grove, California. The Monterey Energy Group does primarily residential work and had noticed four converging factors that made building homes to be net zero energy cost effective and relatively easy to integrate into the building architecture.
First, grid tied solar electric systems had not only become less expensive but also required less space to produce significant amounts of energy. Second, state and federal incentives for solar electric systems had reduced the installed cost dramatically. Third, homes in general had become more efficient. More efficient lighting, appliances, windows, and insulation combine to lower the overall energy use without adding much if any cost. Also many of these features have to be verified by third party inspectors helping to insure maximum efficiency. Fourth, the advent of super efficient air to water heat pumps that convert ambient air to warm water at least 4 times more efficiently than conventional electric resistance equipment.
Having completed thousands of energy consulting jobs Monterey Energy Group knew very well how to calculate annual energy use for heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. To be honest we had to spend a few hundred hours researching how to predict energy use for lights and appliances for typical homes. We debated at length whether or not to include energy use specific to individual occupants and energy outside the condition space of the home or just the use within the conditioned walls of the home. Our decision was made by just doing the work on 50 real homes with 50 real home builders.
The feedback we got from the homeowners was invaluable. Our process to calculate energy use from standard lights & appliances as well as non standard and outdoor electrical uses takes a little time and thought. Our clients, usually within 24 hours, enthusiastically and insightfully answered our questions and researched their historical energy usage when applicable. They seem to enjoy the process and we are guessing will be very proud of their net zero energy home. Our goal is to accurately calculate the total kwh per year your home will require and size a grid tie solar electric system to produce that many or more kwhs. It is a little more effort to calculate all the energy required but in the end it should be worth it.