James R. Salomon

Consumers often assume that in order to live in a net-zero or energy-efficient home, they have to be wealthy. But many of today's buyers are debunking that myth. Some buyers can achieve the net-zero dream with a nominal investment in a modular, high-performance home says ARCHITECT contributor Courtney Humphries.

Companies such as BrightBuilt Home in Maine and Deltec Homes in Asheville, N.C. have launched more affordable energy-efficient homes models that allow the average consumer to tap into utility bill savings and reduce resources.

For low- and middle-income residents, in particular, an energy-efficient house can provide substantial benefits, says Orlando Velez, director of Housing Programs and Community at Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C.

For those wanting to build a passive or net-zero energy house, right-sizing expectations is a crucial step to meeting one’s budget. And, as Deltec president Steve Linton adds, every project—modular or not—must be tailored to the particular site and climate. The company’s design team also conducts an energy model to evaluate site variables, solar energy capacity, building-shell size, features, and cost trade-offs.

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