Imagining Zero Electricity Bills
When Tom and Ingrid Graze entered the property and development arena 30 years ago, it was a passion for property and the financial freedom it brought. At the time they never understood the impact of what housing and housing designs have on a community, the environment and the planet.
Travelling extensively with the family and touring developments around the world, changed forever how they approached the built form and how to tread more lightly on our planet.
As time passed it became increasingly evident to both Tom and Ingrid that a new style of homes were needed in Australia, that blended sustainability and low impact on the planet. If that was then fused with beautiful design that encourages health and accessibility to all, then their vision for a better and sustainable future has been achieved.
The built environment globally accounts for 1/3 of primary energy as well as 40% of energy resources globally. Having realised that no one had conducted any thorough monitored research in seeking the correlation between human activities and buildings, three ZERO homes were built to become a dedicated ZERO Research and Development Centre located in Footscray. A collaboration began with Swinburne University of Technology, where these homes are actively monitored, set up as Air Bnb’s where guests come and go. Appliances are monitored, as is the usage of electricity in each of these “living labs”, with different guests, different behaviours, all being measured to further develop these ZERO Living homes. The key goals were to slash electricity usage in order to minimise the footprint of the home and provide ongoing savings to the homeowner. This has been accomplished. These “all electric” homes have ZERO electricity bills, often having bills that are in credit. Another goal was to overcome the perception that ZERO energy buildings are very much more expensive compared to traditional homes, this is not the case, these ZERO HOMES are affordable and are located in inner city locations. SUSTAINABLE HOMES FOR ALL.
A definition of what a ZERO home is probably the most complex of tasks, but in very simple words it is a quality build, all electric home that produces no electricity bills. It produces twice as much sustainable energy than it consumes, therefore in essence it is also looking after your neighbour. These micro power stations have many components in their construction, insulation, wrapping, double glazing, TESLA batteries, ENPHASE microinverters, high performance pv cells, heat pumps, cross ventilation, split systems, high end appliances and many more aspects that have been fully engineered from the roof down to create the Active ZERO home.