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Zero-Energy Buildings

zero-energy buildings

"Zero-energy" simply describes buildings that produce as much energy as they consume, or more. How is this achieved?

A zero-energy academic building, Oberlin College, PV design by Solar Design Associates  All-solar house in a hot, humid climate
Zero-energy buildings make environmental and economic sense.

SDA approaches the design of new zero-energy homes and commercial spaces with a proven methodology that includes:
  • Comprehensive energy efficiency
  • High-integrity thermal envelope
  • Passive solar heating and cooling
  • Solar thermal for space and domestic water heating
  • Solar photovoltaics for electricity
  • Wind energy and/or micro hydro when appropriate
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Radiant heat distribution with internal thermal mass
  • Radiant cooling
  • Heat-recovery/cool recovery ventilation
  • Surplus power exported to the utility grid
  • Back-up power when the utility fails
  • Solar recharging of electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles

Time Magazine featured SDA founder Steven Strong, shown standing in front of what he calls a "21st Century Farmstead".
A residence in Northern New England that, despite the harsh winter climate and modest solar resources, gets its heat, hot water and electricity from renewable energy with sufficient surplus solar-generated electricity to provide for the owners' local transportation needs when plug-in hybrids become widely available - about 18 months from now. Strong wants to make solar power the standard for homes.
Read the complete Time article >>>

Sustainability is the cornerstone of our design philosophy. The houses and buildings we create require a minimum of non-renewable energy. Some are energy-independent while others actually produce a surplus of energy that can be exported to the utility grid for the benefit of the greater community.        Steven Strong, SDA President

Tin Mountain Environmental Center

SDA designed this private residence in Maine to be totally energy self-reliant

Olympic canopy at the Natatorium for the Atlanta Summer Games

More about SDA's design approach for zero-energy buildings >>>

See examples of SDA's zero-energy building strategy >>>

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