no, not the free dial-up internet provider from 2003

Net zero refers to energy. It’s when your home or business has the ability to produce as much energy as it uses. Through multiple means you produce your electricity on-site, essentially giving back whatever you take from the grid. Even if you can’t achieve net zero 100%, it’s still a worthy goal, especially for infill projects. 

net zero benefits to consider

  • Improved comfort.
  • Better energy efficiency helps stabilize costs. 
  • Increased value potential to your home or property.
  • Preparation for inevitable disasters. Imagine having electricity to spare during a power outage. 
  • Future-ready. With a smaller climate footprint, you’ll be doing your part in the creation of a healthier climate.

how to implement

If you’re designing a home, implement net zero strategies from the outset. Let the design of property carry as much weight as possible. Even something like the orientation of the home to maximize tree shade can make a difference. If you’re not starting from scratch, you might want to start small. Replace old lightbulbs with LEDs. Replace outdated appliance with Energy Star versions. Then turn to solutions for better water management and heating and insulation. Start saving now for installation of renewables, such as solar panels. Thankfully, panels are cheaper now than before while also being more technologically efficient. 

smarter financing

Missoula businesses can take now advantage of a new resolution that allows you to make investments in energy efficiency with little upfront cost. It’s called C-PACE, which stands for Commercial Property Assessed Capital Enhancement. It’s a loan on the property, not the individual, and it’s paid back through property tax assessment. Just about any measure that saves or produces energy is eligible. Learn more at Last Best Pace

I believe that the average guy in the street will give up a great deal, if he really understands the cost of not giving it up. In fact, we may find that, while we're drastically cutting our energy consumption, we're actually raising our standard of living.

start now

Imagine what houses might look like 25 years down the road. Imagine a huge sprawl of large suburban homes, each one requiring gobs of money and energy to heat and/or cool. Can these kinds of homes survive inevitable changes in our climate? That remains to be seen, but as energy costs continue to soar, there is no question that net zero-energy homes, especially those built as part of a broader infill strategy, will be in a better position in the future.