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Net Zero Buildings Basics

Net zero or zero-energy buildings produce at least as much energy as they consume on an annual basis. They do this by incorporating state-of-the-art energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Diagonal Ct. Community Center, a net zero Community Center. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

There are also buildings that produce a surplus of energy over the year. They are called energy-plus buildings. These buildings, along with net zero buildings, contribute significantly less to greenhouse gases than traditional buildings.

Net zero buildings use renewable technologies such as solar and wind to produce energy while reducing the overall use of energy with highly efficient HVAC and lighting systems.

The zero-energy goal is gaining momentum and becoming more practical as the costs of alternative energy technologies decrease and the costs of traditional fossil fuels increase. Corporate goals, as well as regulatory mandates, are encouraging many commercial businesses and government agencies to move toward zero-energy buildings.

Additional Resources

For more information about net zero buildings, visit the following resources:

Zero Energy Buildings
U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Sustainable and Net Zero Buildings on the NREL Campus