I’d known for a while that I wanted a near zero-energy house, and in 2013 the opportunity came along to build one of my own. Though there were some restrictions that limited the options we could pursue in this endeavor, we succeeded and built our own near zero-energy house!

The house had to have a heat pump, but I also wanted photovoltaic (PV) panels. It also needed a ventilation system, and had to be prepared for an electric vehicle (EV). The planning began in March 2013, and we were able to move in to the completed house in September 2014. In order to achieve the goal of near zero-energy, the plans included 20 centimeters of insulation, a triple layer of glass in north-facing windows, large windows to the south for natural lights, outside shading, a ventilation system, a PV system, a heat pump, and floor heating with a 10cm pipe distance.

Triple-Win (Though this project is more than a triple win for us)

  1.  It caters to our needs: the building is functional, spacious, and light.
  2.  It uses 100% renewable energy-sourced electricity (Which is something everybody can do).
  3.  It uses a heat pump, which integrates 100% renewable energy for heating: 75% comes from geothermal energy, 25% from the renewable electricity.
  4.  It has a ventilation system with a heat exchanger, which keeps the air fresh while reducing energy loss from air-exchange.
  5.  It has 4,6 kWp of photovoltaic capacity on site. The only thing I regret: there was no space for larger capacity.
  6.  [Future win] I have already put sufficient cable from the electric main distribution to the garage so if an EV ever arrives, we can install a fast charger.

Thomas Nowak, Secretary General, European Heat Pumps Association