Friday, April 22, 2011

Getting to Zero - White Paper on Zero Energy and Net-Zero Buildings and Homes

Happy Earth day! I hope you're finding interesting ways to celebrate it in your community.  Here's a way to celebrate online.  Check out this interesting white paper from Building Design and Construction.   For readers in the building industry, architects, homeowners, building committee members, facility planning professionals, construction professionals, building owners and engineering consultants it covers an important trend towards zero energy or low energy usage buildings helpful in fighting global warming and green house gas emissions.

Is Net-zero energy the next frontier in green building?  I'm not sure about that.  But the BD+C paper addresses this by sharing an overview of what does zero energy mean and how it can be applied to various situations.  There are numerous complex definitions which it takes into account and some very useful graphics which make it easier to understand.  It doesn't necessarily talk about the Passive House movement from Europe also penetrating the green building discussions but it's an important addition to the conversation of moving towards energy independence!

Bill Maclay, a leader and inspiration in net zero design (and my former boss) was quoted in the white paper as well and their work with the Putney School was mentioned on page 14 for the Putney Fieldhouse  a fabulous example of a net-zero LEED platinum private school athletic building really changing the game on campus facilities.  I was part of the design team on that project and am really proud of being part of it.  If you're ever in southern Vermont and are curious about seeing the building contact the Putney School to arrange a tour.  It's a game changer, leaping out of the pages of the white paper into everyday experience showing the way towards a more energy independent future along with the other case studies mentioned.

Take a look at the white paper and let me know what you think.  Do you have any examples where you live of similar zero energy buildings you'd like to share with readers?  Any great experiences related to them to share with us on this special day?  This is important work to help out the generations who will follow us.  With net-zero energy buildings we can make a difference for tomorrow and beyond!

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