There is a perception that to build a NetZero building the cost is prohibitive enough not to offset the initial increase in the cost of building. The Wikipedia definition is A zeronet energy building (ZNE) is a popular term to describe a buildings use with zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions annually. ZeroNet Energy buildings can be used autonomously from the energy grid supply – energy can be harvested on-site usually in combination with energy producing technologies like Solar and Wind while reducing the overall use of energy with extremely efficient HVAC and Lighting technologies. The ZeroNet design principle is becoming more practical in adopting due to the increasing costs of traditional fossil fuels and their negative impact on the planet’s climate and ecological balance.
The first step in cost control of the initial project is to look for any federal, state or city government tax or other incentives. There are currently several tax incentives on systems such as solar, geothermal, insulation, wind and other systems that reduce the energy needs. A website that list incentives by state is http://dsireusa.org/incentives/index.cfm?re=1&ee=1&spv=0&st=0&srp=1&state. There are also incentives by specific utility company, check with your electrical, gas and water provider for the programs available in your area.
The federal programs are ever changing, but some of the significant sites to review are http://energytaxincentives.org/. If you take the time to do the reference on the different incentive programs, the initial cost savings can be so significant that the total construction cost is offset. These programs will help us be less and less dependent on carbon based energy consumption. There are designers and professionals that are able to help with the preliminary reporting and designs to incorporate the NetZero project.
There are some systems available that depending on the project design and size can distribute energy either back to the utilities or to nearby neighbors at a considerably reduced cost. The sharing of energy programs could significantly reduce our consumption.
There are also grants and funds available for new energy sources that create opportunities for renewable energy sources that we are only able to imagine at this point. The opportunities take some time and effort initially, but the cost savings and impact on the environment long term, far outweigh the initial investment in time and capital.