In addition to the superior monetary returns to homeowners that we detailed in Part One, Zero Energy Homes – A Financial Win For Homeowners, zero energy homes offer a wide variety of other benefits not available to owners of homes built to code. And almost everyone else involved in zero energy homes – from builders to lenders, realtors and utilities, the environment, and society at large – wins too. Here’s a quick-view list of the many benefits of zero energy homes above and beyond financial returns:


Returns for Homebuyers

  • Healthier homes with better indoor air quality due to fresh, filtered air from an advanced ventilation system, resulting in less sickness and better cognitive functioning
  • A more evenly heated, comfortable home without drafts
  • A more durable home
  • Protection from future energy price shocks making the home more resilient
  • A likely higher resale value
  • Option to add additional solar panels to power an electric vehicle
  • Option of adding a battery backup to function in the event the power is out
  • An inflation protected investment: as power rates go up, monthly costs stay the same.
  • Financial returns as outlined in Part 1: Zero Energy Homes – A Financial Win For Homeowners


Returns for Builders

  • These homes have a somewhat higher initial value and therefore generate more profit for builders. Buyers can afford a higher purchase price because zero energy homes cost less to own. Using the Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum and/or a green appraiser, buyers will be able to include the extra costs in their mortgage.
  • Offering options for solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, and storage batteries can add new revenue streams.
  • As an integral part of building a zero energy home, builders can take pride in delivering high-value indoor air quality, health, and comfort to their customers, growing their brand as quality, high-performance builders.
  • Builder risk is reduced because of higher customer satisfaction, greater durability through effective moisture management, and fewer callbacks.
  • Builders can market their reputation to bring in more customers and build their business.
  • Since the market is moving towards zero, builders who get on board now will be leaders in their field.


Returns for Lenders

  • A slightly higher selling price for zero energy homes means lenders will increase loan amounts, charge higher fees and increase profits.
  • Loans can be expanded to include optional add ons such as storage batteries, car chargers, and extra solar panels.
  • Loans on energy-efficient properties have a 32% lower default rate than non energy efficient homes, because borrower’s monthly costs are lower and more stable even as energy prices rise. That means fewer loan defaults and less risk in lending.


Returns for Realtors

  • Higher commissions come from selling homes with a somewhat higher price and from options such as battery backup, car chargers, and extra solar panels.
  • By obtaining a green realtor credential, realtors can market their reputation as green realtors selling better homes that are more comfortable, healthier, and quieter.
  • While most homebuyers want green or energy efficient homes, most designations are very complicated and difficult to understand. With zero energy, realtors can sell a clearly defined set of benefits: no energy costs, comfort, quiet, and health.
  • Zero energy homes are a rapidly growing segment of the market. It pays to be ahead of the curve.


Returns for Utilities

  • The most effective zero energy and zero energy ready homes are all electric and many are equipped with electric vehicle chargers, ensuring a growing market for electricity.
  • Distributed solar energy and stored energy reduce peak demand on the grid.
  • Zero homes provide distributed generation and may soon include dispatchable battery storage, which can be used on demand, allowing for the possibility of creating a more intelligent, resilient grid, and new business models for utilities.


Returns for the Environment and for Society

  • Zero energy homes are net carbon neutral while being profitable investments for their owners, setting a practical example of what we can do everywhere..
  • Many towns and cities have ambitious climate action plans and carbon reduction goals. Building zero energy homes in one of these communities is a tangible contribution to the home team effort.
  • The technologies used in zero energy homes, such as air sealing, enhanced insulation, and solar, create local jobs. The money homeowners do not spend on energy circulates elsewhere through the local economy.
  • Zero energy homes help reduce air and water pollution, since they have no gas or oil heating or gas appliances and they use little or no net electricity from fossil fuel power plants.
  • Zero energy homes increase long-term energy security for the country by reducing the need for fossil fuels.
  • As fossil fuel consumption declines, we will have less need to frack or drill in wilderness areas and on farms.
  • Zero energy homes improve the quality and longevity of our housing stock, reducing short-cycle tear downs due to poor construction or decay.

While the financial returns are easily assigned value, the many non-monetary returns are more difficult to quantify. But no matter how you compare zero energy homes to standard homes, zero energy homes come out the all-around winners. Homebuyers and building professionals who get on board with zero homes will be winners, too.