At Cipriani Studios, we are exploring the future of Pittsburgh green home design through partnerships with alternative energy providers, as well as design and development solutions that create energy savings and independence.
The residential design and construction industry is at an interesting crossroads, as demand for environmentally friendly home energy solutions begins to grow exponentially.
Net Zero Living is a conceptual design framework for achieving carbon-neutral home design. Through each strategy, we can build a home that creates as much – or more – green energy than it consumes through nonrenewable utilities.
1. Solar + Battery (Off the Grid)
One way to create a net zero home is solar power. Excess energy is captured in a backup battery that can power the home at night or on cloudy days. This type of dwelling lives off the energy grid, with no connection to electric or gas.
Our new CS Modular product line is devoted to small, affordable, off-the-grid structures that run on solar and battery power. These accessory use dwellings can be used as a backyard workspace, guest cottage, pool house and more.
2. Net Metering (On the Grid)
Another approach to Pittsburgh green home design is net metering. With net metering, the home runs on solar power by day and grid power by night. Instead of storing excess power produced by the solar array, it is sent back to the grid, resulting in a credit.
The recently completed Trail House is our first net metering case study residence. It features an air-tight skin and solar power infrastructure. If the home creates more power than it consumes, it results in a “net zero” – i.e. credits from the electric company cancel out any charges for consuming grid power when it’s too dark or cloudy to run on solar.
3. Solar + Battery + Local Green Energy (On the Grid)
A third approach to net zero living involves a combination of onsite solar and battery backup supplemented by local green energy. With a growing set of diverse solutions, we’re likely to see homes built with multiple renewable systems working together.
Our Lake Pointe House, currently in design and development, is a waterfront single-family compound with an air-tight shell, small solar array and backup battery. It will also be connected to hydroelectric power generated by a local dam. By day, the house can run on energy from its rooftop solar array, with excess captured in a backup battery. By night, it can run off battery or hydroelectric power.
The future of Pittsburgh green home design
Looking ahead, Cipriani Studios will continue to adopt industry best practices while refining our Net Zero Living platform through design and engineering improvements. We also receive input from green energy partners, such as Building Performance Architecture, which certifies each project, and EIS Solar, our solar panel supplier.
There are several paths to creating a carbon-neutral structure, but they all have the same goal of minimizing or eliminating a home’s environmental impact. And with current geopolitical affairs being what they are, energy independence is top-of-mind for many homeowners. A net zero approach can eliminate dependence on foreign and domestic fossil fuels.
Are green living solutions expensive?
Clients interested in Pittsburgh green home design are often wary of costs, but there are many ways to make it more affordable and cost-efficient. Net zero homes don’t generate energy bills, so instead of writing checks to electric and gas companies, that money can be reinvested into financing the system itself.
And in many municipalities, utility providers will buy the excess power your home creates (a process called “net metering”), so that instead of just eliminating your energy bills, you actually receive credits for producing more energy than you consume.
If you’re searching for a net zero home or would like to discuss Pittsburgh green home design, reach out to Cipriani Studios today for a private consultation.