The Danish Net-Zero-Energy Home shown above may look ordinary but it could transform the way we live in our cheap energy restricted future. The house uses a truck load of high technology allied to cost effective materials like wood to deliver a building that generates more power than it consumes.
As you’d expect the building is beautifully designed in that typical Nordic simple style, but alongside the traditional fixtures and fittings you’ll find extensive installations of photovoltaic solar panels, heat pumps, triple glazed windows with thermal properties and automated blinds, and a powerful sensor system allied to an outside weather station to maintain the interior environment no matter what the conditions are like outside.
You’re probably thinking all that tech is expensive and you’d be right, but at a build cost of $700,000 it’s not astronomical, especially bearing in mind the fact that it could pay for itself in 40 years. A nice vision of the future, and even more so once material costs start to reduce over time with volume manufacture.
In total, the Home for Life ought to use about 60 percent of the energy of a traditional single-family house in Denmark: 15 kWh per square meter per year for lighting, household appliances, and running the active components of the house and 32 kWh/m² per year for hot water and heating. It’s the latter where the Home for Life really stands out: Its heating consumption is just half that of an ordinary Danish home. Once all the systems are fine-tuned, we estimate that the house will generate a surplus of about 9 kWh/m² per year.