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Preparing for Zero Net Energy: Why ZNE should be on every builder’s radar

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Preparing for Zero Net Energy: Why ZNE should be on every builder’s radar

You’ve most likely heard the building term “Zero Net Energy,” also commonly referred to as Net Zero Energy (NZE) or Net Zero Building (NZB). All of these names refer to a building with zero net energy consumption, meaning that the home uses equal or less than the amount of renewable energy that it produces on an annual basis.

Over the years, California has led the charge in enforcing this building practice. In 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) put in place a lofty goal to have all new residential construction be Zero Net Energy by 2020 and all new commercial construction be Zero Net Energy by 2030. In 2015, the CPUC and California Energy Commission Efficiency Division (CECED) released a joint action plan that detailed specific tactics for achieving the 2020 goals. As California’s codes and standards continue to evolve, the state moves closer to complete ZNE adoption.

Hanley Wood editor Ned Cramer recently wrote about the wonders of Zero Net Energy for The Construction Wire, saying, “The net-zero building could positively reshape our way of life, promoting energy independence, reducing drought and carbon emissions, creating jobs.”

Though the ZNE initiative is primarily in California at this time, builders should be advised to keep their ears close to the ground on these developments. ZNE designs can now be found in 18 different states. At the legislative level, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides dedicated ZNE resources on their website. They recognize ZNE builders with Zero Energy Home Awards and even host the Race to Zero student design competition.

While its unrealistic for most U.S. builders to begin producing entirely Zero Net Energy homes overnight, they can familiarize themselves with energy-efficient building practices and building materials. For example, LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier Sheathing can reduce monthly cooling costs by blocking up to 97% of the radiant heat in the panel from emitting into a home’s attic, lowering attic temperatures by up to 30° F.  Because wood building products are sustainable and renewable, they are a great choice for builders hoping to create energy efficient, or even Zero Net Energy, homes.

Disclaimer: The image above is not a Zero Net Energy home, however it was built with energy efficient products such as LP TechShield sheathing.

This information and the websites identified above are provided solely as a convenience to the reader. They are not intended to state or imply that the editors of Engineered Wood or LP Building Products sponsor, recommend, endorse or are affiliated or associated with the companies or products listed.