The recently completed Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB) Pilot House, designed by the architecture firm Snøhetta in partnership with Norway’s Research Center on Zero Emission Buildings, is a family home that is capable of producing nearly three times as much energy as is required to power it. The additional energy can be fed back into the grid, or used to charge an electric car.

The ZEB house was built using a number of sustainable technologies and building practices. The energy to power the home comes via a roof top mounted 1,614-square-foot photovoltaic array, as well as a 172-square-foot solar thermal panel array. To catch the maximum possible amount of sunlight, the roof of ZEB house also slopes 19 degrees to the southeast. To further maximize solar heat gain, the builders strategically placed several glass windows and doors throughout the house.


According to the architects, the home is capable of producing 19,200 kWh of electricity in a year, with the total electricity needs of the home being only 7,272 kWh per year. These are still just estimates though, as the real life performance of the ZEB house is still being tested.

The house is also equipped with heat exchanger, which expels excess heat and redirects it to warm the water, while the home itself if heated via a floor heating system. The home also features a swimming pool, which is heated using the redirected excess heat.




A spacious atrium is also attached to the house, with a small nook for outdoor eating. The home also features a firewood-heated sauna, while the garden was planted with fruit trees and a vegetable garden, which allow the residents to grow some of their own food.

The next step is to monitor the long term performance of ZEB house to see whether the energy production estimates were accurate, as well as to monitor the effectiveness of the sustainable building practices used.