zero energy homes

Net Zero Energy in Portland


Green Canopy introduced the Company’s first Net Zero Energy Homes in Portland by holding a class with valued partners in the movement. New construction “Net zero” or “zero energy” homes are highly-efficient home powered by the sun and typically built to a higher certification standard — in this case Earth Advantage Platinum. With less than 10 ever transacting on the Portland Regional Multiple Listing Service in the last 20 years, zero energy homes are very unique. Real Estate Brokers and buyers are learning more about what zero energy is apart from the apparent solar panels. Benefits like: healthier, allergen-free air quality; comfortable, evenly-distributed heating and cooling; and smart, cost-saving technology.
The event was held in one of the two Green Canopy Net Zero Energy Homes. Introductions were given by Debbie Chase of First American Title who welcomed brokers with bites from Elephants Delicatessen. Green Canopy Cofounder, Sam Lai, explained the mission of the company and the desired outcome of regenerative communities. And Chris Dawkins and Brian Schmidt of Lightbox Portland shared stories about their lessons learned from building their zero energy project that sold last month in Northeast Portland.
To begin the class on zero energy, Peter Brown of Earth Advantage — green building certifier — divulged details on what makes up a zero energy home. For this certified Earth Advantage Platinum Zero Energy project, Earth Advantage visits the project site several times to audit the quality of building — something that is not done for code-built homes. It is tested on a range of performance metrics like efficient water and lighting fixtures, structural integrity, and the energy consumption versus production. Brown also explained that the performance of zero energy homes is dependent on the lifestyle of the occupant — a household of 8 would likely consume more energy than a household of 2. A lively discussion ensued about the accuracy of energy certifications when home occupants have significant impact on the energy consumption of the homes. One remark was how a car’s Miles Per Gallon may not precisely reflect a car’s performance due to user differences like the number of passengers in the car or a different driving styles.
Green Canopy Construction Program Manager, Ryan Nieto, answered questions on the home the group was sitting in. Brokers remarked on the simple design qualities that they appreciated like the high windows allowing natural light in while providing privacy from the street. Nieto discussed how living in a net zero or zero energy home is not a sacrifice for sustainability but rather a convenience and the way of the future: “Net Zero Energy is a lifestyle choice. We’ve built high quality, energy efficient, and healthy homes that empower homeowners to embark on their personal journey towards Zero Energy, without sacrifice comfort or livability while adding durability and value.” 
The class adjourned and attendees were invited to walk through the home with the green building experts. Interactive “tags” were placed near distinctive features for attendees to learn about the features and their respective benefits for homebuyers.

Mission Net Zero: Homes as Printers


I get it, I get it… If our homes are printers then what is delivered through them is the ink. One compelling future of homebuilding could be about selling homes at a lower and lower price while controlling the delivery of utilities and financing to the homeowner. Big utility companies are becoming viewed more and more as dinosaurs facing an uncertain future. But whether the homebuilder directly or indirectly brings the home, the mortgage and the utilities directly to the homeowner has yet to be seen… that business model has a long way to go before it is entirely worked through.

Either way, what appears paramount is that homes of the future, Green Canopy’s homes, must be extremely efficient, produce energy, store energy and decrease the home’s waste streams in order for the printer and ink analogy to be realized. This aligns with our commitment to build as many net-zero homes as possible… that is clearly the future in homebuilding, and our children will thank us for it.

Consider these two articles before you think me crazy.

Why Morgan Stanley is Betting that Tesla Will Kill Your Power Company.

Carmaker Honda will Build and Fuel 40% of All New Homes by 2060

These are BIG companies placing big bets with real cash and they are helping Green Canopy change the narrative in the market and chart our course of the future. In the world of this particular future, our GHG emissions will not simply be much lower, they will ultimately be controllable. Controllable systems are efficient systems and will allow society to venture in new and potentially better directions. This is a world I am excited about helping to build for my children and my children’s children.