Net zero buildings have been making headlines in recent years…

For their ability to produce as much energy as they consume in an average year; to return the same amount of water back to the watershed as is used over the course of a year; and to eliminate waste that would otherwise go into a landfill. The most common application of this concept in with net zero energy buildings. These buildings don’t necessarily use cutting edge technology, nor are they complicated in their pursuit of these goals.

A core concept of net zero buildings is to work with the existing terrain, consider the climate, and utilize locally available materials. Some common strategies to achieve net zero energy, water, and waste in a building include: renewable energy production and storage, earth sheltered construction, natural shading, passive solar heating, stack effect management, and waste/storm water management. When it comes to net zero buildings, a bit of planning and considerations during the design phase can go a long way!

 

Resources

Project Drawdown

Whole Building Design Guide

Environmental Protection Agency

Department of Energy

Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation