A leading climate scientist — who has dedicated his career to proving the feasibility of transitioning the world off fossil fuels — walks the walk with his own home. Professor of civil & environmental engineering and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University, Mark Z. Jacobson has built an incredible Net Zero home that’s able to generate all of its own energy from renewable sources.
Jacobson is one of the founders of The Solutions Project, an initiative backed by scientific research that aims to show how every state in the USA can transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Using the organization’s ethos and his own research as a guide, Jacobson worked with luxury custom homebuilders, BONE Structure to design and build his ultra-efficient home.
Related: This new energy concept from Sweden can make any building net zero
Located in Stanford, California, the structure is the epitome of future efficient home design that doesn’t sacrifice on style or comfort. The project’s planning began by creating an ultra-low energy thermal shell that would insulate the home and reduce energy requirements. Next, to generate and conserve energy, the home was equipped with solar panels along with a couple of Tesla Powerwall battery packs for storage. This system meets all of the home’s energy needs, including heating, cooling, plug loads and even transportation charging.
Jacobson moved into his Net Zero home last summer and has been monitoring its performance ever since. Not only does his energy system generate enough clean energy to meet his family’s needs, but Jacobson has also been able to sell 67 percent of the clean electricity back to the utility grid.
Ultimately, this home is not sustainable. Imagine the resources needed and how the environment would be destroyed if everyone in the US built one of these. When we use the term "net zero" that only applies to the monthly energy consumption of the home. It does not count the huge toll to the environment and the energy used to manufacture the components, ship them through the distribution process using carbon-based fuel and ultimately build the home. The professor would do far less harm to the earth if he moved into a small apartment closer to work. Now, having said all of that, I commend him on this project. It is clearly well thought out and beautiful. We need folks like him to be the early adopters of the world so that prices can ultimately fall and these homes become more affordable and sustainable.
Would like to see affordable net-zero home.
Well, this all looks amazing. Kudos to Mark and his (presumably large) team of advanced degree-holding, professional homebuilding associates. Beautiful design and fantastic build quality - steel structure and super-premium surfaces, fixtures, and finishes. Any details on whether this build was at the low end or high end of BONE structures ($230-490/ft)? Four power wall units...connected up in a system that charges an early adopter's Tesla Roadster and Model S (!!!). Not exactly your typical homeowner’s fleet. That said, I'm intrigued as to how the power system manages input from the panels, offload to the grid, along with 28 kWh of stationary storage and 120+ kWh of mobile storage. Fun thought puzzle. Did this additional system require a team of electrical engineers? What was the line item like for the electrics budget? It’s great to see beautiful design and neat implementation. Reports like this help expose us to the potential for best practice (sort of). However, when best practice appears to be so out of line with accessible practice (for most of us), is it really best? It'd be great to see coverage of something other than tiny homes or super high end structures doing net zero design. The title of this piece is accurate. This place is incredible. And I’m incredulous. Having inaccessible masquerade as sustainable seems a little disingenuous. Let's find more clever design and modest builds to celebrate.