Is Building Net-Zero-Ready Homes Right For You?

By: Alison Rice, Utopia Managing Editor

These five metrics will help homebuilders determine whether building net-zero ready homes is worth the effort.

If you’re wondering whether building net-zero ready homes is worth the effort, it’s worth looking at the numbers. Here are five key statistics we uncovered in our reporting that you’ll want to consider.

1. Cost Expectations vs. Reality

Building net-zero (or net-zero ready) may not be as expensive as you think, especially as you gain experience, according to data from the Rocky Mountain Institute.

2. Interest Among U.S. Builders

Builders are increasingly interested in constructing net-zero or net-zero ready homes, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. This chart shows the percentage of builders who have either built or plan to build a zero energy or zero energy ready homes. The share grew from 21% in 2015 to 44% last year.

3. Solar Power Payback

Will buyers pay for the solar power technology that is an essential component of a zero-energy or zero energy ready home? In some places, yes. Zillow Economic Research found in 2019 that U.S. buyers were willing to pay an average premium of 4.1% for a home with solar power. Source: Zillow Economic Research

4. Zero Energy Housing Growth

Multifamily is a hot market for zero energy construction in the U.S. and Canada, but the number of single-family homes is also on the uptick.  Source: “2018 Zero Energy Residential Buildings Study,” Team Zero

5. States Where Energy Efficiency Sells

If you’re wondering if buyers will go for zero energy in your market, you might consider how they have responded to the Energy Star program, which last year represented 8.6% of the U.S. new home market, as measured by housing completions. Here are the 11 states where Energy Star certified homes equalled or exceeded that percentage.
Source: “Energy Star Single-Family New Homes Map,” Energy Star