The HouseZero project at Harvard University aims to create a building that produces more energy over its lifetime than it uses. Curbed highlights the project's newly retrofitted home, which will serve as a living laboratory for energy-efficient architecture.

One of the targets of the HouseZero project is to combat the belief that new buildings need to be building in order to achieve zero energy for heating and cooling, zero electric lighting during the day, 100% natural ventilation operation, and zero carbon emissions.

HomeZero attacks one of the largest sources of energy usage and carbon emissions: the existing building stock. Currently, existing U.S. buildings are responsible for 40% of the country's energy consumption.

The newly finished HouseZero home uses extensive daylighting and natural ventilation, augmented by a sophisticated window actuation system that uses software and senors to adjust, open, and close windows continuously.

The demonstration home, a retrofit of a prewar, stick-built home, wants to show that affordable upgrades can make a massive difference.

By developing better and financially viable frameworks for transforming old structures into energy efficient homes or commercial space, developers or homeowners can capture significant energy savings without investing in the materials and resources needed to create an entirely new structure.

There's still much to learn from the remodel, and an initially energy audit will show eventually how the retrofitted structure performs over time. The information can then create computation simulations that can be used to develop even more efficient and sustainable structures.

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