Zero Energy Homes: Built Projects & Programs Chart the Road to Adoption

By Ann V. Edminster Note: Apologies to readers who may not be familiar with all the acronyms contained herein; in deference to the more acronym-savvy among you (most of the building industry), I’ve omitted them to streamline the reading! All may be decoded readily online. 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. I also expected that we would find out some things about the ZE homes themselves. We did, and those findings, albeit less surprising, are also helpful inasmuch as many ZE builders and designers from across North America have validated one another’s experiences. What I didn’t anticipate was what we would learn about the organizations and programs involved in the ZE arena, and what their similarities and differences would illuminate. What follows is a brief summary of key findings about the homes and then a short discussion about the ZE organizations and programs. The ZE Homes and Those Who Create Them We learned that most ZE residential projects – as documented by their designers and builders (via case studies and personal communications) – feature several common elements. At the top of...
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