With buildings accounting for nearly 40 percent of overall energy consumption in the U.S., it's safe to say that energy efficiency in buildings has to be a core part of any plan to reduce carbon emissions. Net-zero buildings, which produce as much energy as they consume, are the ultimate in building energy efficiency. According to a new report from the New Buildings Institute and the Zero Energy Commercial Building Consortium, more and more net-zero commercial buildings are cropping up across the country.
The study names at least 21 new commercial buildings that produce 100 percent of their own energy, with eight more unverified ones that could be classified as net-zero. An additional 39 buildings would fit the bill if they installed more on-site renewable energy systems, and there are dozens more under construction. From libraries to offices to elementary schools, these sophisticated designs signal the shift toward a greener architectural future.
"Lofty goals have been set for achieving zero-energy buildings by 2030," says Dave Hewitt, executive director of the New Buildings Institute. "The really good news is extremely energy-efficient buildings are being demonstrated in a multitude of climates and across building types. This is certainly a good sign for the future of zero-energy buildings."
(via Scientific American)
Photo: The net-zero Gateway Building at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Arizona, designed by Weddle Gilmore Black Rock Studio. (Bill Timmerman)