ZeroEnergy Design

ABOUT


Zero Energy Office
Photo: Christina Siu

ZeroEnergy Design (ZED) is an architecture and energy consulting firm specializing in new construction and major renovations. Our commitment to innovative and ecologically sensible design is reflected in our multidisciplinary knowledgebase, which spans architecture, mechanical engineering and financial analysis. With this shared expertise, ZED originates designs that are tailored to a client’s way of life, environmental ideology, and unique sense of style.

We believe that great design should enhance the value of each place, make optimal utility of space, elicit an emotional response, and use less energy.Our designs are inspired by clients and the surrounding landscape, resulting in an architecture that is uniquely informed by both subject and place. We are also committed to designing homes and buildings that use 50% less energy than building code requires, in pursuit of energy independence.

OUR START
The firm's founders got their start leading Cornell University's 2005 Solar Decathlon team. The competition, sponsored by the US Department of Energy, challenges universities from across the US and beyond to research, design and build an 800 square-foot off-grid solar home. Cornell's first entry to the competition was awarded second place. The team's success was driven by a well-rounded team fielded from the top-rated departments within the University. Subsequent to the project's conclusion, the founders chose to continue working together to realize their shared vision of bringing sensible green design to the commercial and residential sectors.

OUR NAME
We take our name from the industry term zero energy (or zero-net energy), which is defined as a building that creates as much energy as it uses. A zero energy building is the result of a multi-disciplined effort and appropriately symbolizes our integrated design philosophy and approach.  While zero energy buildings are an aspirational goal in some cases, they are attainable for others.

OUR DIFFERENCE

The Renaissance Team
Our design team is composed of professionals from the fields of architecture, engineering and finance. This integrated design approach yields holistically designed solutions and brings much-needed technical and financial rigor to the residential sector.

Our Designs Transcend Style
Our designs may take cues from vernacular styles, but they are uniquely adapted to the site and our client's aesthetic tastes.

Design Visualization
We produce photorealistic renderings to help our clients visualize the design before it's constructed. Renderings convey space in three dimensions and can aid in the development of design features and material selections. As a design communication tool, renderings are important because they effectively allow clients to preview how their decisions will impact home aesthetics.

We Ensure Occupant Comfort and Health
We provide green and healthy building materials options with easy to understand explanations of their benefits. Healthy indoor air quality is an important goal that we target by specifying and recommending low- or no-VOC materials and finishes or designing energy efficient ventilation systems that ensure consistent, fresh indoor air.

We Analyze Cost vs. Benefit
Technologies are often added to buildings and homes with little understanding of their combined effects. We take a calculated approach towards energy efficient design. Our in-house engineers and financial analysts explain the individual and combined benefits of each "energy feature" or "improvement" and how they are weighed against up-front and operations costs. This cost vs. benefit analysis allows our clients and us to make informed decisions about the design of the building envelope, systems, and renewable technologies.

Building Science Collaboration with Builder
Building science applies physics principles to home construction, ensuring the longevity of the built home. These techniques holistically consider the interactions between the building, its occupants, and the climate and environment in which it exists. Applying these principles on paper is meaningless if the details are not successfully executed in the field. We work with the builder on each project to ensure that our construction details are both implementable and meet the principles of sound building science, thus ensuring a long-lasting, healthy home or building.