Net-Zero Housing Renovation Companies
Energy efficiency has become a buzzword in the construction industry as companies strive to design and build energy-efficient buildings with minimal carbon footprints (Net Zero). This report provides an overview of companies that remodel existing residential houses into net-zero homes or altogether build new NZE homes.
- The global net-zero energy buildings (NZEB) market generated US$896.6 million in 2018. It is projected to hit the US$2.1 billion mark by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 15.6% between 2019 through 2024.
- Market growth factors include stricter government regulations regarding energy efficiency and growing requirements to reduce greenhouse emissions.
- The NZEB market is bifurcated into commercial and residential buildings. As of 2018, commercial buildings commanded a larger market share (98.4%) than residential buildings. This is because the larger sizes of commercial buildings increase construction value.
- In 2018, North America accounted for the largest share of the NZEB market at 79.1%. Moreover, it is expected to continue to dominate the market going forward.
- The construction of NEZBs is often discussed in the context of new buildings. However, while the retrofit market might not be the most cost-effective way to achieve Net Zero Energy (NZE), it presents significant opportunities for job creation and investment in energy efficiency industries in the net-zero construction space.
- An analysis of the housing sector in 2009 revealed that 61% of the 48.4 million single-family units built before 1980 were not energy efficient. Consequently, these buildings were energy-intensive and, hence, perfect candidates for retrofitting. Thus, the economic potential of increasing the energy efficiency of these units was significant.
- According to the analysis, improving energy efficiency by just 30% in the pre-1980 housing units would have created a US$144 billion investment opportunity and 1,700 job-years. Revenue and employment projections by Architecture 2030 showed that a nationwide US$30 billion mortgage buy-down for homes that met specific energy efficiency criteria would have created close to 5 million jobs, generated US$280 billion in direct spending (non-federal investment), and birthed a US$5.7 billion renovation market that would have reached nearly US$1 trillion by 2030. However, industry experts argue that building new NZE homes is the most cost-effective way to achieve net-zero energy because retrofitting existing buildings is costlier.
- Today, the NZEB market is projected to reach US$9.6 billion by 2026. While commercial constructions still dominate the market, industry experts believe the residential sector is picking pace due to increased awareness and technological advancements. For example, the Net-Zero Coalition estimates that the U.S. currently has approximately 5,000 NZE single-family homes and 7,000+ NZE multi-family units. This number could rise to over 100,000 units, given the number of new homes built in California every year.
Net-Zero Scape Home Construction, LLC
- This company is "a leading residential general contractor." It offers a wide range of services, including:
• Kitchen remodeling
• Exterior remodeling
• Deck construction
• Flooring installation
• Home addition
• Residential new construction
• Roofing services
• Siding services
• Painting services
- Oakwood Homes successfully completed the construction of two experimental net-zero homes in Denver. The company now plans to start making more NZE homes in Colorado. The 4-bedroom houses will feature rooftop solar panels, super-insulated windows, a high-efficiency tankless water heater, and airtight construction.
- Oakwood's inspiration to venture into NZE homes came through a life-changing experience when its Chief Operating Officer, Frank Walker, walked into a net-zero house and experienced first-hand how efficient the house was. Despite being hot outside (102 degrees), the house's interior was surprisingly cool (72 degrees) without the aid of cooling systems or air conditioners.
- Oakwood's experimental residential houses have already sold out — perhaps an indicator that their US$188,000 price tag is not a deterrent for aspiring homeowners who see value in NZE homes. Oakwood's competitive advantage is its ability to design and build substantially cheaper NZE homes than other residential homebuilders.
Nexus Energy Homes
- This company prides itself on designing and building innovative new homes to achieve net-zero energy standards. The company's successes in the NZEB market earned it the 2012 EVHA Builder of the Year Award, while a house it constructed using revolutionary technology resulting in state-of-the-art efficiency received the 2012 Gold Energy Value Housing Award. In 2014, the homebuilder won the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE's) Challenge Home 2012 Housing Innovation Award. This was in recognition of its efforts to provide U.S. residents with zero-energy homes that are better for the nation, create jobs, increase energy security, reduce air pollution, and lower homeownership costs.
- Nexus Energy Homes has built the most Emerald certified homes in the U.S., making it a market leader in high-performance homebuilding.
How many people are interested in turning their houses to become net-zero?
- There is no doubt that net-zero homes play an important role in reducing the impact of human activity on the environment. That said, the shift from conventional houses to NZE homes is gaining momentum. According to a recent survey, the number of NZE homes in the U.S. grew by 33% from 2015 to 2016.
- An earlier study conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders Research Center on 400+ homeowners in Dallas, Texas, established that 88% of the participants were interested in NZE homes if utility savings were sufficient to offset monthly mortgage payments. With the growing concerns about climate change and the need to embrace greener energy solutions, it would be a fair assessment to state that more people are buying into the idea of NZE homes.
What is the average cost for individuals to do this?
- It is feasible that the rates for constructing a net-zero home vary by company. For instance, Oakwood Homes build houses that go for US$188,000 - US$190,000. On the other hand, Nexus Energy Homes construct 1,700 square feet duplexes that sell for US$275,000 despite being the same in size as Oakwood's homes. Another net-zero homebuilder De Young Properties sells its homes for between US$350,000 and US$450,000.
- The bottom line is that NZE homes tend to be slightly costlier to build due to the technology and materials used in construction. Considering all the variables, net-zero homes are 8% - 12% more expensive than regular houses on average.
What would the environmental impact be if the U.S. housing market transitioned to net-zero?
- There would be a net positive impact on the environment. This is because net-zero homes produce enough renewable energy to meet their own annual energy consumption requirements. In 2019, about 63% of electricity generated in the U.S. was from fossil fuels. Further, approximately 20% was from nuclear energy, and nearly 18% was from renewable energy sources. Scientists argue that human's excessive consumption of fossil fuels has a considerable cost. However, NZE homes do not use fossil fuels to generate energy. Therefore, a transition to NZE homes would significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and reduce human environmental footprint.
What is the current environmental impact of the residential housing market in the U.S.?
- When houses are built, used and demolished, the soil is disturbed and eroded, habitats disrupted, natural resources depleted, air and water are polluted and valuable land is used up. According to the 'Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead' report, the construction of new single-family homes was one of the most environmentally troublesome activities in the U.S. economy.
The NZE homebuilders identified herein have expanded their portfolios and joined the private residential space. This means individuals can contract them to build NZE homes for them. In addition, their expertise in this field makes them a preferred choice for private homeowners seeking to build NZE homes or remodel their existing homes. The sources used in this research are credible and relevant mainly comprising industry reports, company websites, white papers, and reputable third-party sites. The consensus among industry experts is that building new NZE homes is cost-effective compared to renovating existing homes.