Zero-Energy Homes Attain Cost Parity

net zero energy single-family house

The Rocky Mountain Institute’s report on the economics of zero-energy homes offers new insights on the economic viability of net-zero energy homes and how to bring these homes to market.

Zero-energy (ZE) homes—efficient homes that produce or procure as much renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year—are often marketed as luxury homes, only available to the select few that are willing to pay a significant premium to do the right thing for the environment. In keeping with this luxury perception, research shows these homes are often more comfortable and healthier than conventional homes for a variety of reasons. Mainstream media outlets have suggested cost premiums as high as 40 percent for sustainable real estate.

However, the economics for these homes have changed: ZE homes have quietly passed cost thresholds that make them not only good for the environment but also cost effective. As the underlying technologies and design elements continue to improve and scale, these costs will continue to decline.

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) recently released Economics of Zero-Energy Homes: Single Family Insights. Our work aimed to address the perceived cost of ZE and zero-energy ready (ZER) homes—homes designed to achieve ZE levels of efficiency but that don’t yet have solar photovoltaics (PV). The report also provides both homebuilders and policymakers with guidance on how to bring these homes to market.

Read the full report here.