Path to Zero
Path to Zero
2.17 - Designing Zero Net Energy Homes

Zero Net Energy (ZNE) homes are starting to shake up the US housing market. Tucker’s conversation in this edition of Path to Zero is with David Knight, an expert on designing ZNE homes who has been a leader in green building for nearly 40 years.

Knight is the founder of Monterey Energy Group, which has been a driving force in promoting and designing net zero energy homes and buildings.

What is a Zero Net Energy Home?

When it comes to mitigating the effects of climate change, buildings play a big role. A United Nations report says the energy used to build and operate our buildings account for nearly 40% of the world’s carbon emissions.

Net-zero energy homes can produce as much energy as they consume and are built to optimize energy efficiency through airtight construction of roofs, walls, windows and foundations.

The Propane Education and Research Council recently did a survey with Harris Insights that found more than 80 percent of homebuyers and nearly 90 percent of builders are likely to consider a Zero Net Energy home for their next purchase or build.

“The wonderful thing about the concept of Zero Net Energy is that it’s really practical, really attainable, and it doesn’t have to be horribly expensive.” says Knight.

A Zero Net Energy home designed by Monterey Energy group between Carmel and Big Sur on the coast of California

David Knight discusses with Tucker why a combination of solar panels, batteries, and a propane standby generator is often the optimal approach to achieving Zero Net Energy and achieving resilience in remote locations.

Energy independence

Knight works on nearly 1,000 custom homes each year. He says an increasing number of homeowners are looking to build off the grid due to wildfires and brownouts in California.

Knight also says rather than spending exorbitant sums to bring in grid power, some homeowners will increasingly turn to the possibility of going off the grid with a combination of solar power, batteries, and a propane or gas generator. “If you’re going to be charged $50,000 to hook up to the grid, that’s a lot of solar and batteries and backup generation,” Knight says.


Monterey Energy Group Website
Calif. home is certified “Net Zero”
Energy options for resilient and off-grid homes
This Zero-Energy Strategy Combines Solar with Propane