Residential energy use breakdown

All homes use energy

Energy is used in myriad ways in our homes, but in most homes, energy use tends to follow a fairly simple 60-40 rule. About 60% of your home's energy is consumed by space heating, cooling, and water heating. The other 40% goes to power lighting and appliances.

Reduce it with energy efficiency

Replacing your home's older inefficient equipment, and improving the home's insulation and air tightness, reduces energy use. This is called energy efficiency, and it's typically the first thing to do - because it not only pays for itself through savings on utility bills, it also increases home comfort and occupant health.

Home section diagram

Rooftop PV

Replenish it with rooftop solar

The right energy efficiency improvements can decrease a home's energy usage anywhere between 20% - 60%. Adding rooftop solar can make up for the remaining energy use.

Net-Zero Energy!

A home whose energy use is first reduced with energy efficiency, and the remaining energy is made up by energy produced by rooftop solar is deemed a "Net-Zero Energy" home.

Net zero energy

XeroHome builds a custom energy plan for your home.

XeroHome will show you all the relevant energy efficiency upgrades to reduce your energy use as well as the right size for a rooftop solar to get your home to Net-Zero Energy. XeroHome's energy plan helps you prioritize home energy upgrades to become an energy leader! Learn how to make your home Net-Zero Energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does following all the upgrades on the recommended XeroHome plan guarantee that I will get to Net-Zero-Energy?

XeroHome uses advanced building energy simulation tools to estimate how much energy a home will use with various combinations of energy upgrades. It then recommends the combination that works best to achieve Net-Zero Energy. However, in some homes, it may not be possible to achieve Net-Zero Energy. In those cases, XeroHome will recommend energy upgrades that get the home closest to the Net-Zero Energy goal. XeroHome's energy modeling calculations are also based on best available data about a home from public records, and any input received from the homeowner. The calculations are hence only as accurate as the data available.

For these reasons, no guarantees, either expressed or implied are made about a home achieving Net-Zero Energy status with the recommended energy upgrade plan. Please refer to our Terms of Use for further details.

How does XeroHome define Net-Zero Energy for a home that use natural gas?

The energy content of natural gas is measured in therms, while that of electricity is measured in kilowatt hours. XeroHome converts both natural gas and electric energy use for a home into base energy units of BTUs. XeroHome then optimizes the energy upgrades and rooftop solar recommendations to get annual energy consumption for the home to be Zero BTUs.

XeroHome's optimizer will often recommend switching a natural gas space heating or water heating unit with a high efficiency electric one, where that upgrade makes sense. However, it is possible that a Net-Zero Energy home may still use natural gas for space or water heating. In that case, the natural gas energy use will be made up annually with energy produced using rooftop solar.

Does a Net-Zero Energy home mean $0 utility bills?

No, a Net-Zero Energy home does not mean that the home will have $0 utility bills. The right sized roof-top solar can reduce an energy efficient home's electric energy consumption to zero, but if the home uses natural gas for heating, it will continue to have a natural gas utility bill. Additionally, electric utilities may charge a connection fee, even if there is net zero electric energy consumption.

Does a Net-Zero Energy home mean I can disconnect my home from the utility grid?

No, a Net-Zero Energy home is not the same as a grid-disconnected home. XeroHome's calculations assume that the home is connected to a grid with a net-energy metering infrastructure. In other words, at times when the home needs energy and solar energy from rooftop solar is insufficient or not available, the home will draw energy from the grid. Conversely, when excess solar energy is being produced by the home's rooftop solar, that energy is returned back to the grid. Also, as described above, a Net-Zero Energy home may still use natural gas for heating. In those cases, the home will continue to require a utility connection for natural gas.

Is a Net-Zero Energy home the same a Net-Zero Carbon home?

They are close, but not always the same. A Net-Zero Carbon home first minimizes the use of fuels that emit carbon (or other green house gases), in favor of electric energy. Electricity can be produced with zero-carbon emissions - from clean, renewable sources like rooftop solar. It then recommends a solar upgrade to net zero carbon emissions over a year. A Net-Zero Energy home on the other hand, optimizes upgrades that will reduce the overall energy use to net zero energy use over a year.

XeroHome currently optimizes a home for a net-zero energy goal. A future update to the tool will allow homeowners to choose a net-zero carbon goal instead.