Special Sustainability Report

Net-zero building roster grows, but district-wide applications falter.

Net-Zero Building Roster Grows, but District-Wide Applications Falter

By Brad Berton, Contributing WriterTaliesinWest_1771_M

The commercial building industry is encountering encouraging news along the hazardous road to “net-zero energy”—that intimidating challenge to generate as much renewable energy on-site (or nearby) as a property consumes on an ongoing basis.

The still-short roster of North American commercial and institutional buildings verified as ZNE continues growing steadily—from 21 to 32 over the past two years, according to research from the New Buildings Institute. And the count of additional “emerging” properties deliberately targeting ZNE is increasing at an even heftier pace—nearly tripling to 110 during that period.

The not-so-great news is that successful efforts to enhance privately owned “districts” (multiple-structure clusters) to ZNE status remain very few and far between. Indeed, according to NBI’s research, the preposition “between” does not even apply to successful cluster operators matching that description: Only one district has been verified to date—and quite a small one, at that.

Read the full interview in the April 2014 issue of CPE. Access is free!