Workshop on Beyond Net-Zero Design


Presenter: John Spears

In conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Society

This workshop on June 26 will explore the design and the construction energy efficient 100% solar powered homes. We will discuss net zero homes, grid independent homes (net zero with batteries) and off grid homes.

100% solar powered homes require a comprehensive and integrated design approach that focuses on making the building as efficient as possible and integrates a reasonably sized solar system to provide power.

Net Zero buildings work well when the grid is operating. However, when the grid goes down the net zero building loses all power. The addition of batteries makes the building grid independent and improves the resilience and security of the building.

Grid independent homes are designed to weather short term power outages.  However a well-designed efficient home can also be designed to be completely off grid with a solar/battery/generator system.

Case studies of 5 local homes designed and built by the author will be used to illustrate each of the topics covered in the workshop. For each home, we will present the owners objectives for the home and the design process to meet those objectives. We will discuss, the design and construction details of each project. Finally we will discuss the cost and performance of each project.

Topics covered will include:

  • Optimizing energy efficient design with energy simulation models
  • Passive solar heating and natural cooling design
  • Indoor air quality
  • Sizing net zero solar systems
  • Sizing battery backup systems
  • Energy efficient construction systems to include:
    • Structural Insulated panels
    • Double wall construction
    • Spray foam vs. bat insulation
    • Aerated Autoclaved Concrete block (AAC)
    • 2”x6” with exterior insulation
    • Mass wall concrete construction
  • HVAC systems in solar homes to include:
    • Gas vs electric
    • Geothermal
    • Air source heat pump
    • Mini split
    • Energy recovery ventilation systems (ERV)
  • Energy efficient lighting and appliances


Jun 26 2020


11:00 am - 12:30 pm



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