While doing some research on Internet, I came across a very interesting article written by Martin LaMonica "GE: Smart grid yields net-zero energy home". In his article LaMonica was saying that on July 14, 2009, General Electric unveiled a project at its research labs that will let homeowners cut annual energy consumption to zero by 2015!
I have heard about a Zero Energy Home projects before, but never heard about such a big project planned to be implemented around the country!
A Zero Energy Home or (ZEH) is a new or specially remodeled home that is very energy efficient, and also can produce its own power. Zero Energy Home is called this way because it can produce enough energy during the year to offset the amount purchased from the utility, and as a result the electricity bill will equal zero or almost zero at the end of the year.
Net-zero of Zero Energy Home is producing electricity using solar panels and wind turbines. It also saving a lot of energy by great weatherization and by using energy efficient appliances. On cloudy days or at night, it uses energy from the electric utility. During sunny or windy days when a lot of electricity is produced from renewable resources, an excess power is then sent back into the utility grid. Electric utility company can install the smart electric meter which can be reversed when power is going back into the grid and as a result the homeowner will get zero or very small energy bill.
For this project, GE will be using a special Home Energy Manager, or a device with which consumers will get detailed energy data and would be able to control appliances. This device is expected to cost between $200 and $250. This control unit could evaluate electricity rates and see, for example, that running a dishwasher when the solar panels are producing is cheaper than running the load at off-peak times. Or a clothes drier can go into "conservation" mode during peak times where it will operate at a lower temperature and take longer to run.
To read more about this project go to website:
To read about seven steps to ZEH, go to: http://www.toolbase.org/ToolbaseResources/level4CaseStudies.aspx?ContentDetailID=2472&BucketID=2&CategoryID=58