Net Zero Energy Design

SunSource specializes in providing our clients green building solutions that intelligently address energy consumption, conservation and production. Through a dedicated focus on these aspects and close collaboration with our clients, we are able to produce a cost effective "Net Zero" energy designs and construction.

At SunSource, we use passive and active solar design, superinsulating systems, ultra-efficient environmental systems, and progressive ventilation designs to achieve our clients' energy goals. This not only saves money, but also helps protect the environment.

While our focus is on energy independence, we stress environmental stewardship through responsible material selection and limited site disturbance. From recycled content specification to LEED Certification, we will pursue sustainable design to the extent that our clients desire.

We strive to achieve a Net-Zero performance that relies on a specific balance between all of the factors above. We will ensure that the costs and benefits associated with each variable have been thoroughly explored. It’s our goal to affordably provide Net-Zero buildings and spread the facts about their common-sense appeal.

 

PASSIVE SOLAR DESIGN

For new construction, an enormous impact on the performance of a building can be made by simply orienting the plan in the right direction.

SunSource ensures that the right type of windows are used on the appropriate face of your structure, and at the right height to block summer sun — while allowing winter sun to fill the building. This allows the sun to be absorbed properly and re-radiated when temperatures drop.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS (HVAC)

Your environmental systems typically consume up to 60% of your energy for your home. By choosing a system that is efficient, you can greatly reduce your overall energy consumption. This is key to getting to the “Net-Zero” goal.

One important system is a Geothermal Ground-Source Heat Pump. They work by:

  • Using the top layer of the earth’s crust to gather or reject heat for heating and cooling.
  • Forcing the transfer of heat from the ground by using the heat pump (similarly to how standard heaters and air conditioners work).

As a result, ground-source heat pumps can transfer heat from a cool space to a warm space, against the natural direction of flow — or they can enhance the natural flow of heat from a warm area to a cool one. 

The core of the heat pump is a loop of refrigerant pumped through a vapor-compression refrigeration cycle that moves heat.

A Geothermal system can cut your heating and cooling energy consumption by up to 80% compared to standard “builder-grade” HVAC equipment.


INSULATION

Adequate insulation is critical to good energy efficiency.

Simply put, it’s easier to heat and cool a building that doesn’t require as much heating and cooling. There are four key insulation systems:

  • Batt Insulation — Fiberglass batt with an R Value of 3.14 per inch is the most common used type of insulation. A 3.5-inch fiberglass bat will provide an overall R-Value of 11 in a standard stud wall cavity.

  • Loose-Fill (Blown) Insulation — This type of insulation consists of loose fibers that are blown into desired areas using special equipment. The fibers commonly consist of cellulose (treated with chemicals to prevent fire), fiberglass, and rock wool. This type of insulation typically has an R-3 per inch installed.

  • Spray Foam — While spray foam has an extremely high R-Value of 6.0 per inch, perhaps more importantly is it's proven ability to almost eliminate air infiltration. A study by the US Department of Energy shows that 40% of a homes’ energy loss is due to air infiltration.

  • Rigid Insulation — A foil-faced polyisocyanurate sheet of rigid insulation will provide an R-Value of 7.2 per inch. The standard treatment of rigid insulation is as a sheathing on the homes exterior and under footings and slabs. Rigid insulation is used in conjunction with cavity insulation and serves as an excellent source of thermal blocking.

 
WALL SYSTEMS

The entire compilation of sheathing, insulation, vapor mitigation, and structural components is referred to as the wall system or wall assembly. 

There are several different types of wall assemblies, each of which have advantages and disadvantages.

The standard 2x4 stud wall with ½” sheathing and batt insulation does not have enough advantages to outweigh its copious disadvantages. Unfortunately, most homes are built with this method. At SunSource, we seek and implement more modern, progressive, energy-efficient construction methods.

Most commonly, SunSource relies on 2x6 studs filled with spray foam, enveloped in 5/8” sheathing. On the exterior, we apply a vapor barrier to the warm side of the insulation and add rigid insulation to the entire envelope.

Our goal is a wall of an R-Value of R30-R40 compared with the typical R13 walls.

For excellent resources on different wall types, we encourage you to visit the Building Science website.