Sun Light & Power and Eco Performance Builders team up for a Zero Net Energy Home


We are building a ZNE (Zero Net Energy) home to sell in the Oakland Hills and Sun Light & Power is going to provide the PV (photo voltaic) power system!  We have worked with Sun Light & Power for years and they are the most respected, intelligent, highest quality installer around.  Together we were able to design a system that will create enough power for the home to guarantee there will not be an energy bill.

Our ZNE build is very important to us and we wanted the best for all energy features.  We do all of the performance work in house and needed a partner for the PV portion.  Sun Light & Power has been in business locally since 1976 which makes them the oldest solar company in California.  They are  also the most professional organization we have ever dealt with.  There was little choice when it came down to making a decision.  They were just as excited about a ZNE spec build as we were which was a nice change from the other ‘bottom line’ solar companies.  Meeting with their team and founder Gary Gerber was great.  They had great input and their engineers designed a great system to give us maximum output and is still aesthetically appealing.

Here at EPB we are experts in Home Performance.  We know how to make our heating, cooling and ventilation systems work with our perfect insulation and air sealing measures which assures us a comfortable efficient home. Choosing the most efficient appliances along with LED lighting keep the base electrical use down.  Putting it all together and calculating how much energy will be used throughout the year is the tricky part.  Assuming the house is operating like a standard home (that means without things like a full arcade in a bedroom!) Sun Light & Power’s PV system will provide more than enough electricity to offset any PG&E usage costs.  That means you can live in the house, heat it, cool it, cook in it, watch TV, take baths, etc. without having a PG&E bill.  Pretty cool!!!

The tricky part we had with designing this system is we don’t know who is going to live in it.  We are building the house to sell and a lot of energy usage has to do with occupant behaviors and their choices for electrical devices such as entertainment systems and televisions.  Looking at our past client’s electrical usages and Sunlight and Power’s input we think we have more than enough PV to make it work.  In fact, we are so confident in our design we are guaranteeing the bills for 3 years!  That means, if the new owner has a bill for the first three years we will pay it.  With a lot of talk about ZNE in the industry, nobody really has a definition for ZNE that works very well or that is real performance.  We figured that the only real way to call the home you built as ZNE is to actually pay the bills if you didn’t meet Zero. Eco Performance Builders and Sun Light & Power both believe in moving the industry in the direction of guaranteed ZNE builds.

The home should be finished in mid June, that’s next month, and we will give an update after we see one year’s utility usage and production to let you know how we did.  With this information companies like us and Sun Light & Power can better design future ZNE homes to be built and sold.

For more information about the build click here


  1. […] Pros 1. Heat pumps do not require gas. This means no CO2 emissions, and much higher potential efficiency (gas furnaces can never be more efficient than combustion allows, but heat pumps can). 2. Heat pumps consolidate your furnace and AC into one device. 3. Heat pumps produce warm air, not as hot as the air from a furnace. Thus, you get less heat loss when moving the air through a duct system, and more constant, consistent, comfortable air temperature. 4. Electric companies are now providing incentives and rebates for heat pumps. For example, PGE offers a $200 instant discount when installing a high-efficiency heat pump through a PGE-approved contractor. You can also get tax credits, on top of that. 5. Heat pumps are a requirement for a net-zero home. […]

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