Net Zero Energy House

Net Zero Energy House

Computerized House to Generate as Much Energy as It Uses

September 12, 2012

NIST Unveils Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility to Improve Testing of Energy-Efficient Technologies

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony today, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) unveiled a new laboratory designed to demonstrate that a typical-looking suburban home for a family of four can generate as much energy as it uses in a year. Following an initial year-long experiment, the facility will be used to improve test methods for energy-efficient technologies and develop cost-effective design standards for energy-efficient homes that could reduce overall energy consumption and harmful pollution, and save families money on their monthly utility bills. 

The unique facility looks and behaves like an actual house, and has been built to U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum standards—the highest standard for sustainable structures. The two-story, four-bedroom, three-bath Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility incorporates energy-efficient construction and appliances, as well as energy-generating technologies such as solar water heating and solar photovoltaic systems. 

“Results from this lab will show if net-zero home design and technologies are ready for a neighborhood near you,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. “It will also allow development of new design standards and test methods for emerging energy-efficient technologies and, we hope, speed their adoption.”

Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which included green technologies among its priorities, the facility was built almost entirely with U.S.-made materials and equipment. Through its Building America effort, the Department of Energy (DOE) provided architectural design, training and management support for this project. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan represented DOE during the ribbon-cutting.

For the first year of its operation, the lab will be used to demonstrate net-zero energy usage. NIST researchers will use computer software and mechanical controls to simulate the activities of a family of four living in an energy-efficient home. No actual humans will be allowed to enter the house during this time so that researchers can monitor how the house performs, but lights will turn on and off at specified times, hot water and appliances will run—and small devices will emit heat and humidity just as people would.

A solar photovoltaic system will generate electricity to power lights and appliances when weather permits, and excess energy will be sent back to the local utility grid by means of a smart electric meter. The house will draw energy from the grid on days it cannot generate enough on its own, but over the course of a year it will produce enough to make up for that purchased energy, for a net-zero energy usage.

During the ceremony, Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council, announced that the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility has earned a LEED Platinum rating.

NIST researchers plan to make data from the net-zero experiment available online so that researchers and the public can follow its progress. Visit for images, video and more details on the new laboratory.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit



PS The New Deal

The forecast for Wall Street seems to be foggy at best, and has signs of inclement weather.

Just consider the layoffs and current downsizing as an example. Like how the economy expands and contracts in how it breathes, this time we all might need to hold our breath for some time to come.
I would like to get your ideas about my ideas on how to fix this. To say that actual thinking is a matter of abstraction and synthesis, we all share this unconsciously in our daily lives. And we know that to think out of the box could put our standards of measure in question. But it is only in creative thinking that solutions can be found.
It is in our collaborative thought in how solutions can be tested.
I wish to ask you to embrace a straw man idea, and if not from my country, and if you like it, take your version to yours!
Rhetorically, I propose a few questions which follow. This is to embrace your creative thinking about some solutions to achieve, in practical application, what in the future could become a fully tax exempt investment based economy. This is where considering that taxes are actually a rather archaic idea since the dawn of creation.
And today, instead of inclement weather, we can make a vibrant world economy by putting our minds to it!
Criticize my thinking if you will, modify it as you see fit, dismiss what seems unimaginable, but before you do, I ask you to consider the following:
Can you imagine putting the economy to work for us as opposed to working for it. Can you imagine an investment based economy that is fully tax exempt? Similar to Municipal’s but not quite as lame, in fact, could you imagine fully tax exempt funds and bonds from the government to fuel this?
Analogous to a Dam, on one side, 25% of a fund or bond, as liquid, could be applied for their stated purpose; and the other 75%, being the other side, on behalf of the government, could be under capital management by many participating Wall Street firms. Intended, when the 75% over flows, it will refuel the 25% side.
Consider: we could fund many of our nation’s needs this way. This is while bringing investor confidence back to Wall Street at the same time.
Further, for investment and trading firms there can be a new liquidity on Wall Street. But in this case, the net result could also fund a lot of Main Street.
Consider, the 75%’s profits can be applied to the 25% which would be under use for a particular program. Once the high water mark on the 25%is reached on its side of the Dam, over and above is a return to the investor. Obviating the need of some taxes, what you earn is to be considered in this case net income, and not gross.
If you could imagine this, and other entrepreneurs and visionaries could, like you too, could you imagine our government embracing such an idea as a way to pay off our debt, achieve national security througheconomic solvency, fund needed programs, incubate new businesses, and make the banks hum as the capital managers of such government fully tax exempt programs?
If you could imagine this then consider, would 401k’s which are overly taxed when redeemed still be needed. Would there there be the need for bailouts and quantitative easing to create money for the government? And like for the banks, the returns you get to keep.
Although its petrol is low, fundamentally, Wall Street drives a car, while Main Street is still with the horse and buggy. With such inclement weather at hand, isn’t about time to put the acumen’s of finance’s science to work for us in order to pave the new roads of our 21st century economy?
If this makes sense, then I ask you to share your opinions about this straw man with your friends and colleagues too. Extend it if you will, modify it to fit. Or simply call me a fool. But I hope you would agree that your creative thinking is called for, where this is simply a starting thought or two.
Thanks for reading this,
Orion Karl Daley

Author’s Book:

The New Deal

The New Deal for Election 2008 represents plans and commitment in leadership of our nation. It is a set of blue prints for our strategic future with the message to leave no American behind. It is still needed even more today. Its focus is on the reform of the government with respect to the information age, the economy in order to bring it into the 21st century, and provide personal empowerment in a secure nation that has workable foreign policy. We can pay back the over burdened foreign debt without major cost to the taxpayer, bring momentum back into our economy, return industry to US soil, build strong labor unions, and have personal empowerment when it comes to having real health care, employment, and good educational systems. The nation is moved by the people’s voice. As being a blue print, in voting for the New Deal in November 2008, it’s do-able, and that’s the bottom line.

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