How to make a zero energy house?

Reduced energy consumption by proper insulated and wind-proofing

The first step to have a zero energy houses is to ensure proper wind tightness and insulation of the house. When this is inplace, the energy requirements for the houses wil drop significantly. In The Netherlands the first steps are made, but in Scandinavia much more progress is made already. They have to since the outside temperature will drop to -30°C in wintertime!

Energieneutraal wonen op texel
Picture above: The LiveFree house, Texel (The Netherlands)

How to optimize the zero energy house

Once the house is airtight and insulated it becomes much more easy to have a goog inside climate. The high quality inside climate is further obtained together with the implementation of low-temperature heating and triple glass. The next step is to investigate the installation for domestic hot water. By greatly reducing the need for hot water it becomes much simpler to have a zero energy house. You can achieve this by implementing a shower heat exchanger  or a recirculating shower system.

Picture above: The houses developed by LiveFree are made by Nordic Houses. The large open space of the house ensures a high quality of living.

Making and storing energy

Subsequently, the house is equipped with many solar panels to generate energy  combined with the possibility to store this energy locally. The self-generated energy is used to provide residents with their personal energy needs. For both living and working and optionally also for mobility.

Various forms of energy storage is used. For example, water buffer tanks (at 80 degrees C) for low temperature heating and batteries for the storage of electrical energy are used. For seasonal storage, hydrogen is produced during the summer by means of electrolysis. This is stored in a buffer tank in order to also have sufficient energy during the winter. Read more about this system here.

Energy neutral house in Texel

The “LiveFree” team recently completed a zero energy house on the island of Texel, The Netherlands. This house was designed following the rules of the trias energetica, making it completely self-sufficient. The goal of LiveFree is to develop houses that have a surplus of energy. This is possible through the special combination of a very high-quality and pleasant indoor climate, a very low energy consumption of the home, an active contribution to the energy needs of the user and the use of sustainable materials.

Trias energetica
Picture above: The Trias Energica as developed in 1979 by the TU Delft leaded by Kees Duijvestein.

Technical features

The house is equipped with a HomeSpa circulation shower from Hamwells, installed by CV & Warmtepomp from Haaften (NL). As a result, the need for hot tap water has also fallen sharply and the infrastructure can be easily realized. The heating infrastructure is based on a buffer tank of 2000 liters, placed in the wall. This vessel is equipped with a heat exchanger connected to floor heating that keeps the house at the right temperature.

Fresh-R zorgt voor verse lucht in je huis met balansventilatie
Picture above: The LiveFreee house uses the HomeSpa made by Hamwells to greatly reduce the need for domestic hot water.

6 steps to a zero energy house

Step 1

Make the house air tight and improve the insulation. This allows for a great reduction of the energy requirements of the house.

Step 2

Ventilate the house using an air-to-air heat exchanger. Now you always have good air quality.

Step 3

Warm your house using low temperature heating or infrared panels

Step 4

Reduce the need for domestic hot water using a shower heat exchanger or recirculating shower. This immediately saves 60% – 80% of the energy need for your shower.

Step 5

The small amount of energy needed can be obtained using solar panels combined with storage in water buffers, batteries or H2 tanks

Step 6

Live long and prosper!

Reduce the need for domestic hot water

Energy saving showers

The Blue made by Hamwells is a shower system in which a shower-heat recovery module is integrated. This module ensures that a large part of the energy put into the hot shower water can be reused. The demand for hot tap water therefore drops to only 1.8 liters per minute. A saving shower as specified by, among others, milieucentraal still requires 4 liters per minute per minute.

De duurzame douche
Picture above: The Blue made by Hamwells uses only 1,8 liters of hot water per minute.

Reducing your use of hot tap water also has a major impact on your CO2 emmissions. Read more about this in this article.

Recirculating showers

If you want to live sustainable, of even completely off the grid, you can use a recirculating shower. These systems are offered by many companies and can filter, purify and recirculate the water.

Picture above: The HomeSpa made by Hamwells uses only 1,4 liters of water per minute.

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