Net-Zero Home Open House and Film Premiere

The Winneshiek Energy District will host an open house of its Net-Zero Home retrofit project, preceded by a short film screening and discussion, on Saturday, December 1st. The documentary film screening and project discussion will take place at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 1pm. The open house at 805 5th Avenue will follow, and run from about 2-4pm. Attendees can easily walk the one block in between.

“This is a great chance for people to come and see the result of a comprehensive home energy retrofit, and to consider what improvements might make sense for their own home,” says Joel Zook, Home Energy Planner for the Energy District. “It’s not rocket science, and most of the improvements will pay for themselves.”


The home is considered a “net-zero home” because it’s carbon emissions from energy use will be avoided or offset – leaving the home with a net-zero carbon footprint. An average midwest home creates about 17 tons of carbon emissions per year. The Net-Zero home achieves it’s zero carbon goal through a combination of energy-efficiency, on site power production and the purchase of Oneota Tags – a local carbon offset program managed by the Winneshiek Energy District.
“We looked closely at achieving net-zero annual purchased energy inputs also”, said Zook. “But creating all our energy on site for this house wasn’t going to be cost-effective. We ended up reducing annual energy costs by about 75%, a solid achievement”.

Energy Efficiency

“Before this project there was little to no insulation in the the entire house, says Zook, “ and that’s pretty typical for homes that were built 40 or more years ago. We’ve projected that our improvements have reduced the heating needs of the house by over 70%.”
All homes can be  made more efficient, some drastically so. “Making a home more energy efficient isn’t rocket science, says Zook, “all of what we did on this home can be done on other homes as well. Almost every home has opportunities for saving energy and making those improvements can save homeowners a lot of money”.

Solar Panels

Solar panels on the roof of the house  will produce as much electricity as it needs over the year – the home’s residents will only need to pay the meter fee – an electric bill less than $15 a month!

Oneota Tags

The only fossil fuel the home will use is a small amount of natural gas for space heating during the coldest parts of the year and for water heating year round. Oneota Tags will be purchased to offset any carbon impacts of the natural gas.
The Oneota Tags program is the first local carbon offset program in Iowa. Proceeds from the sale of Oneota Tag local offsets go towards purchasing simple “direct-install” supplies such as efficient light bulbs and showerheads and basic weatherization materials. These are then installed in local homes by the Decorah Green Iowa Americorps team.


“We wanted to show show people the process of remodeling the home, so in addition to the open houses  we documented the whole project with a video,” says Andy Johnson. “The video will allow us to reach a greater audience and show people some of the process of creating a very energy efficient home.”

Come see the improvements and talk with Energy District staff to find more about the home and what you can do to make your own home or business more energy efficient.

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