What is a Zero Energy Building?


What is a zero energy building? Most buildings today use a lot of energy – to
keep the lights on, cool the air, heat water, and power personal devices. Even installing solar systems will not significantly
counter the heavy energy load. There are, however, some buildings that strike
a balance; or even tip the scales the other way! These are called zero
energy buildings. They manage this feat by being extremely energy
efficient– saving 50% – 70% more energy than typical buildings! In these ultra-high performance buildings,
the amount of energy used can be completely offset by renewable energy produced
on or around the building. When conditions are not suitable for energy
generation, the building will draw energy from the electrical grid to meet its needs. When conditions improve, the onsite renewable
energy systems will cover the building’s energy need and send excess energy
back into the grid to make up the balance. Over the course of a year, the building gives
back as much energy as it takes. When zero energy concepts are applied to groups
of buildings, the benefits are shared and multiplied within that zero
energy community. These buildings are also:
More comfortable More reliable Affordable to build and operate And better for the environment. While these might seem like “buildings of the future,” new technologies are constantly emerging that make zero energy easier and easier to achieve today. In fact, there are already hundreds of zero
energy buildings across the U.S. in many different climates. By becoming ultra-efficient and giving back
as much energy as they consume, zero energy buildings will play an important part in creating
a more competitive, energy-secure future.

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