We all dream of a life without bills. Thankfully we live in an age where that dream can be a reality - at least as far as electric bills go. Thanks to advances in solar technology, insulation technology, and energy storage technology, that reality can be achieved with relative ease. There are also many steps you can take to reduce your energy use without spending a dime. Aside from the financial benefit, “zero net” homes are also incredibly beneficial to the environment because they reduce the need for traditional energy production.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best ways to make your home a “zero net” home without breaking the bank!

Solar Panel Installation

Solar paneling on the roofing of your home
Solar panels on the roof help lower energy costs. Source: HGTV

Solar panels are the first step to a zero net home. By harvesting solar power, you’re able to limit your contribution to traditional power producing methods like coal or nuclear power. This energy is also both free and unlimitedSolar energy technology has come a tremendously long way in the past five years, and systems currently available are very efficient. As a bonus, both the federal and most state governments offer tax breaks for homes powered by solar technology.

Insulation Installation

Attic insulation keeps your home energy efficient no matter what season it is
Proper insulation, especially in the attic, can help keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Source: DIY Network

One of the best ways to make your home energy efficient enough to hit “net zero” status is to make sure you have adequate insulation. If not, the home systems will expend energy working twice as hard as they would in a well-insulated home.

Take for example the heater:

If the home is drafty, heat is escaping through those drafts even as cold air sneaks it’s way in. Because of this, the heater must work harder and expend more energy to keep the temp in the desired range. In a well insulated home without drafts, this doesn’t have to happen.

Another benefit of proper insulation is the fact that you don’t need as much heat. By trapping the warm air inside and slowing the cooling rate, your temperature will stay steady longer without needing help from the heating system.

Solar Battery Bank Installation

A solar battery bank is a deposit on your home's energy efficiency
A solar battery bank stores the power that solar panels harvest. Source: By Solar

In addition to the solar panels and insulation, another step to “zero sum” living is having a battery bank. A solar battery bank is where the solar system stores the power it harvests, allowing you to run on solar power even at night or on the darkest of days. These banks vary on the size of the home and the size of the solar panel system, but are generally pretty manageable in terms of space consumption.

Non Investment Saving Strategies

For homeowners who are interested in quicker energy-efficiency solutions that fit a smaller budget, there are ways to lessen your home’s energy consumption without making a major renovation. In fact, some of these are so simple that you probably take them for granted. We’ve compiled a list of easy everyday ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption:

Shut Off Lights

Keeping the lights off is a great way to save
Turning off lights in empty rooms helps you save instantly on electricity costs. Source: Family Focus Blog

This may seem pretty obvious, but even small lights left on in empty rooms are wasteful. The same goes for the little lights on TV’s and computers - they may be off, but they’re still using power. Unplug them when not in use to save energy and money.

Let The Air In

Open glass windows in a dining room are the perfect way to trap heat
Open glass windows in the dining room instead of turning on the AC. Source: HGTV

Consider opening windows instead of turning on the AC. It may not be as cool, but it will save money and reduce the amount of contaminants spread by improperly maintained HVAC systems.

Farm To Table

Planting veggies in your garden will help you and your lawn
Starting a produce garden will help reduce your use of fossil fuels. Source: Gardening Know How

Start a garden and eat the produce it produces. This will reduce your use of fossil fuels indirectly, because no truck was needed to get the produce to the store and you didn’t need your car to go buy it. Home gardens also save good amounts of money and provide healthy food for your family.

The zero sum energy home is a very achievable goal. With the right planning and investment, you can remove your home from depending on city power while helping the planet to heal. The best part of it is, you’ll save a ton of cash in the process.

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