While a Net-Zero house involves a higher up-front cost than traditional builds, over time it will pay for itself. 

But how long does that take? Are we talking one year? Ten? A hundred? 

Today, we explore the financial side of Net-Zero homes. 

Why A Net-zero Home Costs More 

 

There are a few reasons a Net-Zero home costs more upfront than a traditional build. These include: 

1. Better quality materials 

Net-Zero homes use higher quality materials, from insulation to building wrap. This level of quality is necessary for the products to work properly. For example, traditional builds tend to use very little insulation and usually of poorer quality, usually whatever is the Building Code minimum, which is really just supposed to be the absolute minimum, not a guideline for what is good. For a Net-Zero house, you need at least 8” of good quality insulation that generally performs 30%-65% better. Once this insulation is in place, though, it can last up to 100 years. 

2. Additional elements

A Net-Zero house includes some elements that traditional homes do not require. For example, Net-Zero homes need to use natural heating and cooling systems, for example, Windows designed to capture a certain amount of heat during the morning and late evening with overhangs above to shade during the middle of the afternoon. They also require a Heat Recovery Ventilation System to ensure fresh air enters your home without your heating or cooling escaping. Of course, additional materials increase the cost of your home. 

3. Green processes 

It is not just the products themselves that are eco-friendly when it comes to Net-Zero homes. The companies that create these products generally also use green production processes. While these processes are not necessarily more expensive, in many cases they do take more time and work, leading to higher prices than mass-produced materials. 

4. Expertise 

There is a lot of education that goes into becoming a Net-Zero home Designer or Builder. There are also the years of experience it takes to master the skills. The amount of expertise required means that you will likely pay more for your Net-Zero Designer and Contractors – but it is worth it! 

What Does It Cost To Build A Net-zero Home 

 

Although there are differing numbers depending on who you talk to, most Builders who have been building Net-Zero Homes for a while, and there are a few, will say that it generally costs between 20%-30% more to build a Net-Zero Home. This is not a lot when you think about the quality of Home that you are getting and the money you will be saving each year. 

The Savings You Get From A Net-zero Home 

 

Although there is more initial output, once your Net-Zero home is complete, your savings begin. There are a number of things you will not have to pay for anymore, including: 

  • Heating 
  • Cooling 
  • Electricity 

When switching from a traditional house to a Net-Zero home, most people save over $1,250 per month. That is a savings of over $15,000 a year! Over 10 years, you could end up saving over $150,000! 

As this shows, while a Net-Zero home requires a higher upfront cost, it pays for that difference quickly. Right now, there are also a number of rebates on energy efficient upgrades, dropping the price of a Net-Zero home considerably. 

Finally, it is important to consider that you may not be able to have a traditional home in many BC cities as they are following the new BC Energy Step Code. While you are not required to build a Net-Zero home yet, many Cities require you to build a higher performance Home and Net-Zero will be required in the coming years. In addition, all homes in Canada will be required to be upgraded to Net-Zero by 2050. By choosing a Net-Zero house now, you save yourself time and money for an arduous and expensive retrofit down the road.