Net-zero homes are houses that break even when it comes to energy consumption, or in the case of Jeff Hohensee's Colorado home, actually produce energy to put back into the grid.
In this video from CNN, Hohensee likens most American's homes to being about as equivalent as a Hummer. "They're just big, huge energy sucks that waste a lot of energy," he says.
So how did Hohensee manage to cut his home's energy usage by 80%? He says that it began with simple steps: getting out the caulk gun and sealing up all the air leaks in the home. From there, he insulated the attic, installed new doors, windows and appliances, and made some lifestyle changes, such as hanging out clothes to dry rather than using an electric dryer.
To produce the electricity and hot water that is needed, the home is equipped with a roof covered in solar panels, which Hohensee jokes is "a lot more sexy than insulation." After making use of government incentives and rebates, Hohensee says he spent around $50,000, and hopes to break even on that investment in eight years.