Imagine having a home that pays for itself

Imagine this scenario for a moment. Instead of you receiving a $300 bill each month for your electricity usage, you send the electric company an invoice for the electricity they are purchasing from you. And, just to make it more fun, you tell them that late charges will be assessed if you don’t receive payment within 30 days.

Science fiction? Fantasy? Maybe not. As the cost of energy-efficient equipment falls and more and more homes are powered by solar panels and wind turbines, there could come a day when you live in a home that actually produces more electricity than it uses.

Net-zero homes, featuring energy-efficient appliances, highly insulated doors and windows, and water recycling systems, are a step in this direction. They used to belong only to the very wealthy. But with the cost of a complete home solar system dropping by about 50 percent over the past five years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more people are giving them a serious look.

Today, the cost of a net-zero home is about $40,000 to $45,000 more than a conventional home. Just a few years ago, it was about $100,000 more. Not only do these homeowners not have to worry about an electricity bill each month, they are eligible for tax incentives and rebates, depending on laws within that particular state.

In addition to releasing no carbon emissions, these net-zero homes save approximately 100,000 gallons of water each year through recycling. The air quality is better in these homes as well, so people save on medical costs. And because they last longer than conventional homes, their resale value stays higher for a longer period of time. Finally, these homes are more disaster-resistant than the average home.

If money were no object, would you be interested in owning a net-zero home? What do you think are the biggest advantages or possible downsides to such a home? Please chime in on this subject.


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