by Worldchanging Seattle local blogger Deepak Singh:
Imagine a home that combines sustainability with no utility bills. The city of Issaquah plans to build a community of such "zero energy" by 2009. The current plan calls for ten homes to form King County's first community of solar powered abodes that would, in theory, produce as much energy as they consume. It is safe to say that homes in the U.S.—and anywhere else for that matter— consume a lot of energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), residences contribute to 21% of all carbon dioxide emissions, a number significantly higher than some might expect.
As many are already aware, there are severeal ways to reduce energy consumption in homes, not least by turning off unused appliances as covered in this post on shutting down computers. Even with the kind of design planned for the Issaquah community, reaching an "energy neutral" state will take significant discipline from the home owners. Regardless, this is another step in the continuing effort to develop sustainable living standards and to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
The homes are part of a DOE program encouraging zero-energy home construction. The project called "Building America" has set a goal to trim household energy use by 70 percent by 2020. In addition to using solar power, the homes will have reduced water consumption and will use locally sourced and recycled materials. Once again, the Seattle area is taking the lead in sustainable building.
You can read more about zero energy homes via the original article in the Seattle Times
Clearly, these houses use energy, albeit energy generated from solar panels. So I believe that using the term zero "energy" is inaccurate. Is it even possible to imagine a zero "energy" house?