How One Company is Combining Net-Zero Performance with Prefabricated Architecture

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By Zachary Edelson / Published by Dwell
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Point Zero's homes combine energy-efficient construction and health-oriented design without sacrificing the comfort or aesthetics you expect in a modern home.

Thanks to their financial and ecological benefits, hyper energy-efficient Net Zero (or near-Net Zero) homes are coming into vogue across North America. If anything, the spread of this proven technology has only been inhibited by lack of public awareness of its benefits. Companies like Point Zero are stepping to the breach to provide the design and construction expertise—plus the compelling realities—that are driving the trend.

Health and energy-efficiency are the foundation of Point Zero's homes—literally. Thanks to insulation embedded in their concrete walls, Point Zero basements don't leak heat and energy—they're the same temperature as the rest of the home.

 

The Sterling, one of Point Zero's many home options, features 3,495 square feet of livable space, 1,415 square feet of porches, and a 716-square-foot garage. All Point Zero homes are sheathed in a tight envelope that prevents almost any air (or warmth) from leaking outdoors. Smart home technology—accessible via wall panels or personal devices—allow the homeowner to closely monitor or adjust air temperature and quality.

 

Point Zero homes' efficiency is due in large part to SIPs (Structurally Insulated Panels) that comprise every exterior wall. Each panel is essentially a continuous layer of insulation sandwiched between strong OSB (Oriented Strand Board, as seen above). This design offers strength and energy efficiency. Even each home's roof is comprised of SIPs.

As an added bonus, each SIP arrives on site prefabricated, so Point Zero homes are built faster than conventional construction would allow. You can read more about this simple-but-effective construction technology at Point Zero's website.

Point Zero homes don't just keep out the bad—by practically eliminating VOC chemicals, for instance—but they also let in the good. Each design allows abundant natural light and connections to the outdoors. The Berkeley, for instance, also features a balcony on the guest bedroom, a covered outdoor dining area, and a 252-square-foot outdoor deck.

Point Zero's homes come in a broad range of configurations: The Alexander is a single-level residence with an entry foyer that's nested between two light-filled wings. Thanks to their high-energy performance features, all Point Zero homes can be Net Zero Ready, meaning they would only need their own power source (such as solar panels or a wind turbine) to produce as much energy as they consume.

Point Zero's smart technologies don't just regulate air temperature and quality: they can improve performance by dimming lights at certain times of day. Additional smart technology add-ons can include digital home security systems (such as specialized locks, sensors, cameras).

All these technologies—physical and digital—combine to create homes that will endure over time, efficiently keeping residents healthy and comfortable.