Net Zero is here to stay - as a need, that is. Unfortunately, we're not meeting that need by a long shot.
These days, “consumption” is a dirty word, and for good reason.
Yes, we all have to eat. We need heat and clothing and energy to power the cloud that will one day take over the Earth and rule us all, for good or ill.
Circle of life and all that.
But what we don’t need to do is produce all our energy offsite, which is more expensive and less efficient than powering buildings right where they’re at.
Enter net zero buildings, also called zero energy buildings and net zero energy buildings. If you’re not in on this green infrastructure trend yet, you need to be.
What IS a Net Zero Energy Building?
A net zero building, simply put, is one that doesn’t bring in any offsite energy. That is to say, it produces all of its own energy right onsite through clean, renewable means. In some cases, these buildings even provide energy to surrounding structures. They may manufacture power in a number of ways, from wind to solar to hydro.
Frequently they also employ energy-saving strategies such as “daylight harvesting” (a fancy way of saying “using natural light instead of bulbs”) and materials, such as energy-efficient windows, doors and weather stripping.
No, power plants, you don’t get to call yourselves “net zero.” The zero also refers to carbon, after all.
It’s a lovely idea, though as the World Green Building Council points out, “in most situations, net zero energy buildings, i.e. buildings that generate 100% of their energy needs on-site, are not feasible. Therefore, buildings that are energy efficient, and supply energy needs from renewable sources (on-site and/or off-site) is a more appropriate target for the mass scale required to achieve Paris Agreement levels of global emission reductions.”
Still, that would be so much better than where we’re at today, wouldn’t it?
And it’s worth noting that it can be done – and it has been. So before we give up on ideas that seem too farfetched or difficult, let’s all think of net zero buildings.
Veni, vidi, vici. And we can do it again.
Want to learn more about green infrastructure and the role you can play in making our world a cleaner place? We invite you to get in touch today to learn more!