The fact that the home-building industry is slow to change is old news. Very old news.
Unlike the taxi, lodging, telecommunications, music and automotive sectors, there’s no Uber, Air bnb, iPhone, iTunes or driverless car equivalent incubating in the imagination of some home-building hotshot. Or is there?
When the Net Zero Energy Coalition set out to inventory the zero-energy (plus/minus) homes in the US and Canada, we had questions – that was the whole point, after all. We wanted to create a picture of the state of the zero-energy residential construction movement by asking some things that we didn’t know, such as How many zero-energy homes are there, anyway? The basic results of that inquiry are quite interesting, and are well-covered in our January 2016 report, To Zero and Beyond: Zero Energy Residential Buildings Study, and summarized in this nifty infographic.
Those of us in the residential net zero energy community have lived on the fringe for quite a few years now. Each year we expect more change and greater acceptance. We have loved our conferences that brought new ideas and encouragement. Bright innovators with limited capital were commonplace but too few marque zero energy residential projects resulted. Many new ideas fell on deaf ears in the early days.
Being picky about words can get you into trouble sometimes. But that’s the price I’m willing to pay when it comes to the future of the world’s building stock.
Today the word I’m picking on is green. And it’s not for the first time.
The burning question I hear most often about zero-energy (ZE) homes is, “How much does it cost to build one, compared to a conventional home?” Most recently, this has come up in the context of design of the Zero-and-Beyond case study database that NZEC is developing in collaboration with NESEA. Of course, we would love to be able to report on costs.
I’m a member of the Board of the Net Zero Energy Coalition. It’s a volunteer job of course, but it comes with responsibilities. One of those is pretty challenging—come up with clever ideas about accelerating market adoption of Zero, Near Zero and Zero Energy Ready buildings. How can we imagine a realistic future for Zero Energy?