C is for Climate Zone


The first step to building a (net) zero energy home is a solid understanding of climate zones. The architectural solution to energy efficiency is local, predicated on specific weather conditions in specific locations with specific orientations. In short, what performs well in Kansas City does not work as well in Miami or Denver. That said, one of the things that is interesting about Kansas City is that it partakes of three different climate type characteristics. Our conditions embody 80-90% of the characteristics of Mixed/Humid, Mixed/Dry and Cold zones, depending on the season and the year. As a consequence Kansas City is an especially challenging environment for high performance building. The flip side is: When we succeed in designing the right mix of characteristics to realize the goals of "cost neutral" zero energy construction here, it is eminently exportable to at least three other regions.

DOE. Guide to Determining Climate Regions by County-Volume 7.1. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 2010.
Available from www.osti.gov and www.eere.energy.gov