Global Market for Zero Net Energy Commercial Buildings to Reach $240M by 2018

The world grows greener and greener and the rapid expansion of zero net energy commercial buildings serves as evidence.

The world grows greener and greener and the rapid expansion of zero net energy commercial buildings serves as evidence. According to a new report by BCC Research, by 2018, the global market for ZNE commercial buildings will increase to $239.7 million.

Around the world, the market for ZNE buildings, properties that consume energy equal to or less than the energy generated by the property annually, is being buoyed by an increase in construction, as well as government regulations and environmental concerns. The trifecta is expected to result in a 50.6 percent five-year compound annual growth rate of the global ZNE-building market.

The BCC report surveys private commercial, government and multi-family structures in three geographic regions: the Americas; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific. In the ZNE sphere, however, all countries are not created equal.

Despite our country’s reputation for being progressive, it is not the U.S. that leads the ZNE-building market, but Asia-Pacific. The region’s position at the head of the class is driven by China, which is paying close attention to the importance of reducing energy use as it experiences a surge in construction activity. Asia-Pacific’s share of the global ZNE-building market is forecasted to surpass $117 million by 2018.

Led by Europe, EMEA takes the number-two position as the fastest-growing region in the ZNE-building sector, with the market’s growth expected to reach $75 million within the next three years. And the U.S., buoyed by government regulations, will push the ZNE-building market in the Americas up to $47.6 million. The contrast between the ZNE markets in the U.S. and Europe came as a surprise to BCC researchers.

“While we knew there was some discrepancy, Europe is much farther along, with ZNE objectives built into regulatory regimes in nearly every country,” Michael Sullivan-Trainor, research editor with BCC, told Commercial Property Executive. “While in the U.S., there is still only a minority of companies, most of them engaged in the industry, that are adherents. This of course highlights that there is greater opportunity to gain value from zero net energy faster in Europe.”

All told, despite the ZNE market being in the early stage, it has emerged as a focus of the green building industry in most geographic markets, according to the report. With the pursuit of energy efficiency, modern architectural design goals and government focus on dwindling energy resources, ZNE buildings are increasingly becoming a “fruitful investment area.”

The pursuit of ZNE buildings is also becoming a joint endeavor in many cases, which was another unexpected finding in the report. “[There’s a] movement toward zero net energy districts or communities where parties from different facilities band together to combine the energy generating and energy efficiencies of their units or property boundaries to create zero net energy results that benefit all,” Sullivan-Trainor  added. “While isolated zero net energy buildings have been showcased in recent years and some single entities have targeted zero net energy campuses, the growing movement toward communities or districts allowing property to owners to share the benefits is a breakthrough for zero net energy economics that will no doubt accelerate adoption.”