The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and New Buildings Institute (NBI) launched a working group in late 2020 for utilities and other program administrators interested in creating and expanding zero energy building (ZEB) program offerings. The group is still accepting new members. As climate change mitigation becomes an ever-growing focus, ZEBs have entered the spotlight as a solution to reduce the energy use and climate impact of buildings. In fact, a 2019 ACEEE study found that zero energy, or near-zero energy buildings are crucial in helping the U.S. meet 2050 energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
The number of zero energy commercial buildings ZE projects grew by over 20% in the last two years. Residential single-family homes are even more widespread with nearly 28,000 zero energy or zero energy-ready single-family and multifamily housing units as of 2019, according to Team Zero. A Fall 2020 ACEEE brief on zero energy programs found that residential ZEBs generally target 30–40% energy savings relative to current building codes, while that range is 30–70% for commercial ZEBs. That same brief identifies 13 residential and seven commercial for a total of 20 ZEB programs in operation across the country. The movement towards ZEBs is promising, but there is potential to accelerate their adoption by expanding program offerings for commercial and multifamily new construction.
Figure: Existing ZEB commercial verified and emerging buildings, juxtaposed with current ZEB program offerings and ZEB policy activity. Credit: NBI
About the Working Group
Through this joint initiative, ACEEE and NBI seek to fill the gap in program offerings for commercial and multifamily buildings. We aim to substantially increase ZEB program activity in the next three years. The group meetings feature expert speakers from the utility and regulatory communities and offer members opportunities for peer-learning and exchanging ideas. ACEEE and NBI deliver resources tailored to the needs of the participants, and one-on-one technical assistance. The group discussions also inform ACEEE and NBI‘s ongoing research into program best practices for promoting zero energy design and construction to customers.
For more information, please see this factsheet.
- ACEEE Brief: Programs to Promote Zero-Energy New Homes and Buildings
- NBI: 2020 Getting to Zero Buildings List
- IECC Zero Energy Commercial Code
- IECC Zero Energy Residential Code
- NBI’s Getting to Zero Buildings Database
- Getting to Zero Resources Hub
To join the group or request more information, please contact:
Feature photo: Cincinnati Police HQ