Solar Tribune

Phoenix Goes Net Zero

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Thanks to a combination of utility programs and local, technological innovators, Phoenix is ideally situated to become a pioneer in net zero homes.

A home that produces as much energy as it consumes. The net zero home combines solar, insulation innovation, low-flow water solutions and more to create the ultimate no-consumption home. It sounds like a perfect idea, and it’s one that’s becoming increasingly viable in the capital of Arizona. Due to the unique personality and location of Phoenix, this city is leading the charge when it comes to net zero homes.

Utility-Driven Advantages

Along with many states in the West, Arizona was one of the earliest adopters of smart meter technology in the home. Smart meters, which automate energy usage readings, streamline grid-tied energy systems and are an essential part of net zero homes. Arizona is also a leader in rebate programs, with appliance rebate program budgets reaching the 5 to 10 million dollar budget range in recent years. Phoenix is also ahead of the curve when it comes to public exposure and shareholder education, and has made a good deal of political headway when it comes to negotiating between tech innovators and utilities.

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Local Providers & Innovation

One enormous advantage in a place such as Phoenix comes in the ingenuity of its local providers. As one of the first states to develop and explore solar technology, Arizona has a wide and varied collection of regional companies who can facilitate solar installations on a net zero home. State policy supports innovation in solar tech and has created a skilled labor force in the region. From 2010 to 2011, solar production in Arizona doubled, placing it amongst the top U.S. states when it comes to solar technology.

The greater Phoenix area also, of course, has much more sun than other parts of the country, allowing Phoenix homeowners to construct a net zero solution with fewer solar panels, translating into cost savings of anywhere between $6000 and $12000 on a new construction, according to at least one industry expert.

The cost savings do not stop there. One study run at the ACEEE, revealed that Arizona homeowners could experience net savings of nearly 800 dollars a year with a net zero home. Both local builders such as Vali Homes and national companies such as Merit Homes and KB Home are exploring a wide range of net zero projects around Phoenix. For homeowners in the area interested in the multiple advantages afforded by a net zero home, living in Phoenix puts them in good stead from the get-go.

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