So we have all probably hear both terms and at first I though they both meant the same thing. Right! Well I was completely wrong. Here is how I now understand it:
Carbon Neutral: means that the building does not use fossil fuels in it operation.
Net zero: means that the building produces as much energy as it uses in a year, if not more.
When it comes to a renovation these catch phrases can be difficult. Plus you need to throw in “environmentally sustainable” Can you renovate and have a positive impact on your environment. Will it make a difference? How do I get a floor that is carbon neutral or net zero?
Getting building materials that meet the carbon neutral or the net zero classification is difficulty right now. There is a lot that you need to do to ensure they meet those qualifications, plus the cost tends to be very high as you are using non-traditional building materials. Most of us will have big challenges to get these renovation materials.
But, there is hope for us. Small things we do can make an impact. Picking renovation materials that are “environmentally sustainable” does mean that we are using renewable materials. Picking appliance, lighting and electronics that have the “Enerstar” label on them does mean you are picking things that use less energy. Choosing “’Waterwise” faucets will reduce the water you are using. Putting the proper waste in the waste bins (renovation waste bins take renovation waste only) does help our landfills.
For your next renovation you may not be able to add solar panel or a Tesla battery to your home, but you can make the small choices that will help us take the baby steps. So don’t be afraid to ask for the low VOC paint (paint that has less off gassing). Your small choices will have an impact. You many not be a Net zero renovation, but you can make good choices that will help us eventually get there.