10 Houses that Actually Produce More Energy than They Consume

Imagine never having to pay a utility bill again. The energy efficiency of these unique homes actually creates a power surplus. Each house produces 100% of the energy they need for heat, lighting and appliances—and then some!

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Net Positive Victorian Retrofit

This 104-year-old Victorian home in Minneapolis underwent a net-positive retrofit in 2015. For the homeowners, the long and intense process was worth it not only for the comfort of knowing they’re helping the environment; but they are now able to sell back the home’s surplus energy to their local utility company for about 20 cents per hour. In the first year, the system produced about $3,000 worth of electricity!

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Lincoln Net-Postive Farmhouse

You might think the style of an energy efficient home has to be cold, modern or even futuristic. The truth is, almost any home can be built or renovated to produce more energy than it consumes. And this beautiful farmhouse in Lincoln, Massachusetts proves it. Designed by ZeroEnergy Design, this home is filled with warm woods and traditional details, while producing 67% more energy annually than it consumes.

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Modern Mid-Century California Home

This light-filled home in Cupertino, California was designed by Klopf Architecture. The family wanted an environmentally sustainable house that would last for generations. In addition to solar panels, the building materials include highly-insulated walls, bamboo flooring, and fluorescent or LED lighting. During the day, lighting isn’t even needed because the design allows daylight to flood every room. Here are a few ideas to become more self-sustaining.

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High-Tech Family Home in Montlake

This modern, high-tech home, built by TC Legend Homes, is located in Montlake, a residential neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. Not only does it produce more energy than it consumes, it also has a number of other high-tech, energy-efficient features. The heating, cooling and LED lights are all controlled through wifi, and the master shower doesn’t turn on until the desired temperature is reached.

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Net-Positive House in Berkeley

Not all net-positive homes are new builds. A skilled architect can design a renovation for your home that will convert it into an energy-producing house. DSA Architects did just that for this 1940s house in Berkeley, California. The new rooftop solar system produces more energy than the household consumes annually. All the systems were converted from gas to electric, and heat pumps were installed for hot water and space heating. Check out these innovative self-sustaining home ideas.

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Bellingham Affordable Net-Positive Home

This blue beauty in Bellingham, Washington was built by positive-energy construction experts, TC Legend Homes. The energy-efficient features include solar panels, spray-foam insulation, a heat pump water heater, triple-pane windows and energy-efficient appliances.

Here are a few energy saving tips, straight from the experts!

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Karuna House

Designed by Holst Architecture and built by Hammer & Hand, the Karuna House is located in Yamhill County, Oregon. This stunning modern home features triple-glazed windows, recycled newspaper wall insulation, and is built on top of a super-insulated layer of foam.

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Village Hill Community Homes

How about an entire neighborhood full of energy-efficient homes? That’s the plan for the Village Hills community in Huntington, Vermont. The electric bill of each house is offset by the high-tech, energy-efficient features. The construction plans include photovoltaic solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, local wood, and heat pumps. Plus, homeowners will get the added benefit of being surrounded by like-minded eco-conscious neighbors.

Here’s how much electricity each item in your house uses.

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Extremely Green North Carolina Home

This North Carolina home designed by architect Arielle Condoret Schechter has an industrial modern style and is as the homeowners put it, “extremely green.” The exterior walls are concrete sandwich panels with built-in insulation, while the inside features polished concrete floors and bright natural light. The home has a home energy rating of minus 13, compared to the average American home’s rating of 100.

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Modern Energy-Positive Home in Pound Ridge

This modern Pound Ridge, New York home, built by BPC Green Builders, has a positive energy rating. In addition to solar panels and triple-pane windows, common in many net-positive houses, this home also features a acrylic adhesive wrap used as a weather-resistive barrier and to achieve exceptional air-tightness. The beautiful minimal-style interior is perfect for the homeowners who were looking to simplify their lives in their retirement years.

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Erica Young
Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.