When Dan and Christine Fisher of Tampa built their South Tampa home more than 20 years ago, they knew they wanted it to one day be a zero net energy home. But they weren’t sure quite how to transform their home into one that produces an equal or greater amount of energy than it consumes. Twenty years later, after a series of trial and error upgrades and improvements, they’ve accomplished their goal. Here’s what we can learn from their quest to turn their 3,000 square foot home into a zero net energy dwelling.

1. A home any size can be a zero net energy home

A-home-any-size-can-be-a-zero-net-energy-homeAccording to 2010 U.S. Census data, the median square footage of an American home is just over 2100 square feet. The Fishers’ home is 42 percent bigger than that; it’s not exactly the type of floor plan one thinks when they think “energy efficient.” Many homes that are marketed for their energy savings are significantly smaller than even the average American floor plan. This makes sense logically: it’s easier to keep a small space warmer or colder than the outside environment.

But the Fishers’ journey shows us that size is not everything when it comes to energy efficiency. Their energy-saving measures—including the application of Madico’s Exterior 20 window film to all of their windows—brought their energy bills down a staggering 97 percent. You can accomplish this in your home, too, if you have enough patience, persistence, and know-how.

2. You don’t have to compromise

You-dont-have-to-compromiseThe Fishers knew that Florida’s tumultuous summer weather could pose a threat to their goal of a zero net energy home. A zero net energy home is all well and good, but it doesn’t count for much if a hurricane blows the roof off. Luckily, they invested in the kind of improvements that allowed for both a sturdy, hurricane-resistant structure and energy-saving goodness. When you’re considering energy-saving upgrades to your home, it’s important to remember that you can have it all.

3. Details matter

Details-matterWindow film might not be at the forefront of your mind when contemplating energy-saving upgrades to your home. But even small improvements matter a great deal in the long-term game of energy savings. The Fishers’ Madico Exterior 20 window film brought down their energy bill by four percent all by itself. If you’re smart like the Fishers and invest in a series of small but noticeable upgrades, you too can achieve the dream of owning a zero net energy home.