America's Oldest Net Zero Solar House

By: Matt Grocoff , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, House Styles, Green Renovations, Technology, In The News

Mission Zero accomplished!! We will never have a utility bill again! And . . . we’re on our way to making our home a restorative part of the community rather than one that takes its resources and returns only waste and pollution.

America's oldest Net Zero home. Michigan's first Net Zero energy home. America's first Net Zero home restoration in a historic district.

If you’ve been watching our videos, read here at Old House Web or followed my show on Greenovation.TV, you know that my wife Kelly and I have set a Mission Zero goal for our house.  Well . . . the Ann Arbor Historic District approved our full-roof solar array with a unanimous vote!

The house will achieve the remarkable feat of net-zero energy - it will produce more energy than we consume.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos.

The house will be:

  • America’s oldest residence to achieve Net Zero Energy
  • Michigan’s first official Net Zero Energy home
  • The first Net Zero restoration in a designated historic district.

We’ve reduced our energy load by 70% and now our solar panels will provide all the power we need and leave enough to power an electric car for 10,000 miles per year. In fact, we will be receiving checks from our utility company. We’re proving it’s possible and hope to encourage others, including you, to invest in improving their homes.

As you can see from the photos I shot, this is not your stereotypical “green house”.   We have restored the house to the original condition and maintained its historic elements, meeting the strict preservation standards of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This is not a gut rehab or a pre-recession McMansion remodel of an old house, this is an affordable and practical restoration that we hope is an example for others to follow.

This is an All-American folk-Victorian home with the classic front porch in a Norman Rockwell neighborhood. You would never know it was “green” if you didn’t see the solar panels on the roof.

Best Way to Invest Our Money During the Recession

Investing in energy efficiency and solar will help create wealth and security for our family. We will eliminate $77,400 in energy costs over 20 years and receive over $27,000 in renewable energy credits from our utility company. That’s a $104,000 return that we will keep in our community in Michigan to help restore our economy.

Our geothermal heating and cooling system was made by WaterFurnace in neighboring Indiana. Our solar panels were made by California-based SunPower. Our ventilation system was made by UltimateAir in neighboring Ohio.  All of the contractors who worked on our home are people who live in our community.

In this economy, our homes are the best places to invest.  Savings accounts return 0%, CDs return 2.5%, the S&P 500 is returning only 2.9% or 0% after inflation. But, energy efficiency and renewables have a guaranteed return. Kelly and I believe it’s the safest place to put our money.

Did we mention that our house is also the most comfortable house in the neighborhood?   Well - come see for yourself .

Wanna know how we did it?  Check out this video and visit www.Greenovation.TV You can also visit our home’s website: www.MissionZeroHouse.com

Photo copyright Cybelle Codish

Creative Commons License
Mission Zero House Photos by Matthew Grocoff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.Greenovation.TV.