GLOBE-NET, March 19, 2012 - A report from
Buildings Institute (NBI) and the Zero Energy
Commercial Building Consortium reveal that zero-energy
commercial buildings are cropping up in all U.S. climate zones,
from California to New York.
Zero-energy buildings are highly efficient structures that
produce as much energy as they use through on-site renewable
The report, "Getting To Zero 2012 Status Update: A First
Look at the Costs and Features of Zero Energy Commercial
Buildings" examines the number, location, costs
and design strategies of various types of zero energy commercial
buildings (ZEBs) as well as zero energy-capable (ZEC)
ZEC's are buildings which are energy
efficient enough to be zero energy, but have not taken the final
step of on-site renewable generation.
The report is the most comprehensive look at the state of zero
energy commercial buildings to date.
ZEBs are still mostly small buildings, but include K-12 schools,
offices, university buildings, recreation centers, assembly halls
Among the innovative buildings capturing the attention of
architects and builders are the IDeAs Z2 Design Facility in San Jose, CA; Hudson Valley Clean Energy Headquarters in
Rhinebeck, New York; and Richardsville Elementary School in Bowling
One of the most innovative zero-energy buildings on the planet
is already complete and operational in Vancouver, B.C. In November
2011, the University
of British Columbia (UBC) opened the 58,000 square foot Centre for
Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS).
The building is a physical manifestation of UBC`s commitment to
sustainability. If fact, the building goes further than net-zero.
CIRS enriches its environment by making use of resources that would
otherwise go unused. CIRS sources energy from the ground and
scavenges heat from neighbouring buildings, generates electricity
from the sun, obtains ventilation from the wind and harvests its
water from the rain. Utilizing new technologies, CIRS also returns
energy and water back to its surroundings.
CIRS is also a centre for teaching and learning on
sustainability, research and campus operations. It is one of
several green buildings on campus. The CIRS building is the
starting point of an experiment that UBC hopes will lead to massive
strides in advancing sustainability.
"Lofty goals have been set for achieving zero energy buildings
by 2030. This (NBI) study is a first look at whether we could
possibly reach those goals. The really good news is extremely
energy efficient buildings are being demonstrated in a multitude of
climates and across building types. This is certainly a good sign
for the future of zero energy buildings," said NBI Executive
Director Dave Hewitt.
The report contains recommendations to encourage the development
of ZEB`s such as a practical guide for the commercial building
community, increased measurement and communication of results on
successful designs and better benchmarking to define expectations
for performance of highly energy efficient buildings.
A copy of the full report and additional information on ZEBs can
be found on NBI's website: http://www.newbuildings.org/zero-energy.