Reaching for Zero Energy in High Density Housing

Originally published by Common Edge: Buildings contribute nearly 40% of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, so the push is on to “get to zero” on many fronts. What happens when ambitious goals like zero energy meet a conventional building industry that’s structured on repetition and cost, in a market that struggles to keep up with massive demand? This is often—too often—our challenge.

The quest to get to zero poses a dilemma for housing. On the one hand, it sends a clear and compelling message about what we strive for: housing that stands on its own and is “part of the solution.” But if it dominates the conversation, zero-energy goals can also limit a design team’s ability to recognize strategies that may be equally or more impactful for a community and come at little or no cost.

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