The Net Zero energy revolution has already begun


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In 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted the aspirational goals that all new residential constructions in California will be zero net energy by 2020, and all new commercial constructions in California will be zero net energy by 2030.
A zero net energy (ZNE) building produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year. These buildings achieve ZNE first through high levels of energy efficiency, and then through the addition of clean, on-site renewable power generation, typically solar PV.

A couple months ago, the Net Zero Energy Coalition initiated the first attempt to take inventory of all the net-zero energy buildings in the US and Canada and they just released their findings in a report early January. Across the two countries, 6,117 residential units in 3,562 buildings could be classified as net-zero energy (evenly split among multi-family and single family buildings). California is leading this change, being the State with the most net-zero buildings and net-zero builders. As for the leading city, Sacramento, CA leads the way with 925 zero-energy units, followed by Davis, CA with 892 homes, and Portland, OR with 318.

According to Shilpa Sankaran, Net-Zero Energy Coalition’s executive director, the survey was important because it let’s people know how the US and Canada are progressing in terms of residential zero-energy buildings, and the data can be used to track trends moving forward. We certainly appreciate the initiative which gives us better visibility of the road ahead  of us in order to achieve California’s energy goals.
The survey was phase one of the Net-Zero Energy Coalition’s project. Phase two involves carrying out detailed case studies and posting these on an online database for public access to best practices.

The race is ON – When Santa Barbara or Ventura will be the first zero-energy counties of the U.S.?


Find the full report here