Imagine a functional, low energy commercial building that annually consumes only as much power as the building creates with on-site, clean, renewable resources. From coast to coast, there is considerable momentum for zero-energy (ZE) buildings, also known as ZEB’s or net-zero energy buildings (NZEBs). Although still an emerging market, the growth trend for ZEBs is steep.
The world’s net-zero energy market for commercial and residential projects is expected to exceed $1.4 trillion by 2035. The number of ZEBs across North America has dramatically increased since 2010 which encompasses about 80 million square feet of commercial building space. ZE has captured the attention of building owners, developers, architects, engineers, contractors, designers, policymakers and others who see its potential to efficiently use clean energy resources to reduce the substantial carbon footprint of buildings.
Real Applications of Net Zero
From 2012 to 2019, the number of ZE projects has increased ten-fold. According to the “2019 Getting to Zero Project List” released in May 2019 by the New Buildings Institute, a nonprofit organization striving to achieve better energy performance in commercial buildings, the total number of certified, verified and emerging ZE projects grew to 607 in 2019. New projects continue to appear regularly. Today, hundreds of ZE buildings, including commercial buildings of all types (including retail, office, warehouse, hotel, educational and government) are being developed.
Reprinted courtesy of Jeffrey S. Wertman, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.