What are Net Zero Energy Buildings?
A Net Zero Energy Building is a high-performance building that uses integrated energy-saving technologies and practices to achieve very low energy use and carbon emissions, and produces from renewable sources at least as much energy as it uses in a year.
In 2007, Congress created the Zero Net Energy Commercial Buildings Initiative (CBI) as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act (§421, 422 et seq.). Officially launched by the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) on August 5, 2008, the goal of the initiative is to “develop and disseminate technologies, practices, and policies for establishment of zero net energy commercial buildings.” Major milestones are achieving zero net energy buildings in:
- New commercial buildings by 2030;
- Fifty percent of all commercial building stock by 2040; and
- All commercial buildings by 2050.
The Zero Energy Commercial Buildings Consortium is a public/private consortium, working with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop and deliver technology, policies, and practices to achieve a market transition to Zero Net Energy Commercial Buildings by 2030.
In 2011, the consortium published two papers on achieving net-zero-energy use in commercial buildings:
- The Next Generation Technologies: Barriers and Industry Recommendations for Commercial Buildings
- Analysis of Cost and Non-Cost Barriers and Policy Solutions for Commercial Buildings
DOE supports the Zero Energy Commercial Buildings Consortium to coordinate private and public sector involvement with DOE in technology and market assessments and other activities to help DOE accomplish the goals of CBI.
Membership in the Consortium is open to all organizations interested in advancing energy efficient commercial building technologies, practices and policies. At present, there are over 200 public and private Consortium members, including building designers, owners and operators, financiers, manufacturers, state and regional policy makers and program planners, researchers, funding agencies and other stakeholders.