What’s the Difference Between Net Zero & Net Zero Ready Homes?

If you’ve researched energy efficient homes, you’ve probably come across the terms “Net Zero” and “Net Zero Ready.” But what do they mean, and how are they different? We’re breaking down the differentiating features of a Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Home.

What is a Net Zero Home?

Net Zero Homes are defined as homes that produce as much clean energy as they consume. Up to 80% more energy efficient than typical new homes, Net Zero Homes are extremely well built with extra insulation, high-performance windows, and excellent airtightness to minimize heating and cooling needs. Appliances, lighting, and mechanical systems are all as energy efficient as possible. And to offset the remaining energy needed for the home’s annual consumption, Net Zero Homes use renewable energy systems – commonly solar – to generate electricity.

Bercum Builders Net Zero Home Exterior Bercum Builders Net Zero Home Kitchen

Net Zero Home by Bercum Builders Inc.

Exterior of Sifton Net Zero townhome Office in Sifton townhome

Net Zero Townhomes by Sifton Properties.

What is a Net Zero Ready Home?

Net Zero Ready Homes are built to the exact same efficiency standards as Net Zero Homes. The only difference is that the renewable energy system (i.e., solar panels) have not yet been installed. However, everything has already been designed and constructed to easily put the solar panels in place. Think of Net Zero Ready Homes as wired for its future renewable energy system, so that when the homeowners are able to invest in installing solar panels, it’s ready to go. This is called “PV Ready”.

Net Zero Custom home by Oakwood Living area in Oakwood custom home

Net Zero Ready Home by Oakwood Custom Homes.

Why would you choose a Net Zero Home over a Net Zero Ready Home?

Renewable energy sources like solar do have an upfront investment that some prospective homeowners aren’t yet ready to purchase. By buying a Net Zero Ready Home, you have an extremely efficient home that’s easy to upgrade to a Net Zero Home when you’re ready.

Regardless of whether you pursue the initial financial investment of the renewable energy source initially or later, both Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Homes are significantly more energy efficient choices than traditionally built homes. The benefits of both options include:

Exceptional Value

Your utility bills will fall to an all-time low and stay low all year round. Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Homes protect you from future increases in energy prices. And, built to higher standards (an airtight building envelope, improved insulation, high efficiency windows), these homes are more durable.

A Better Living Experience

Advanced construction methods and superior heating, cooling and fresh air ventilation systems mean even temperatures throughout the house, better indoor air quality (with less allergens and asthma triggers such as dust and pollen), and less outside noise, providing greater comfort and healthier living.

Environmentally Responsible

All the features of both Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Homes work together to significantly minimize your household’s environmental footprint by preserving our natural resources and protecting against climate change.

Investing in a Net Zero or Net Zero Ready Home means embracing an energy efficient future. If you’re interested in reducing your home’s energy consumption, a Net Zero or Net Zero Ready Home might be right for you.

To learn more about Net Zero and Net Zero Ready Homes or to find a Qualified Net Zero Builder or Renovator in your area, visit

Interested in the latest home and design trends? View the finalists and winners of the 2020 Net Zero Home Award in last year’s CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence here, and previous years here.

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