Number of Zero Energy Buildings Increases by 700 Percent Since 2012

The Portland, Ore.-based New Buildings Institute’s (NBI’s) 2018 zero energy (ZE) buildings list includes nearly 500 verified and emerging zero energy buildings across the U.S. and Canada— a 700 percent increase since NBI began tracking projects in 2012. Private-sector investment now represents nearly half of all buildings on the list.

ZE buildings are ultra-low energy buildings that consume only as much energy as is produced through renewable generation resources. The list is part of the 2018 Getting to Zero Status Update and ZE Buildings List.

ZE buildings exist in 44 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. California is the frontrunner in ZE building activity with Oregon boasting the second largest count. California’s energy policies, energy-reduction goals, and effective utility programs, as well as Oregon’s Path to Net Zero efficiency program and incentives are driving their rapid uptake in ZE buildings. The Northeast and Southwest regions saw the highest growth with more than a 90 percent increase in buildings since 2014.

The 482 buildings represented total more than 45 million square feet of commercial space and include 67 verified projects (with at least one year of energy use and production data to prove ZE performance) and 415 emerging buildings (with a stated goal of zero energy, but not yet completed, fully occupied, or still working to attain ZE performance).

“Since the construction of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, Phipps has added a modular net-zero energy building and is in the process of retrofitting an existing property for net-zero performance as part of a Living Campus, showcasing three very different types of buildings at the peak of efficiency,” explains Richard V. Piacentini, executive director, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh. Learn more about this facility.

Learn about other trends identified in the study of buildings in NBI’s tracking database.

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