About a year ago, CleanTechnica reported on a new project that was being taken on by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland: A net-zero-energy home. What this means is that a residence was being created that would not use up more clean energy than it was producing, in order to completely cut back on its overall impact on the environment. After a year of being used, the results of the experiment were in, much to the delight of environmental and energy efficiency supporters across the United States.
The household was able to achieve the goal of net-zero-energy consumption, with an energy surplus of 491 kWh. The home was able to generate as much energy as it used while remaining able to meet the needs of each resident living inside. It was not filled with actual people, however, but virtual ones – they were able to simulate what an actual family of four in Maryland would need for their energy consumption. The entire house was a lab for the last year in order to see if net-zero-energy consumption was possible for the suburbs.
The home was originally estimated to be 60 percent more energy-efficient than houses that were built to comply with Maryland's 2012 International Energy Conservation Code. In fact, the house was able to blow all expectations out of the water, as it ended up being 70 percent more efficient than what was originally thought. At the end of the year, the home had produced 13,577 kWh of energy through the photovoltaic panels, while only needed 13,086 to run completely.
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