Energy Efficiency

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 303–322 | Cite as

Defining zero carbon and zero energy homes from a performance-based regulatory perspective

  • Stephen BerryEmail author
  • Kathryn Davidson
  • Wasim Saman
Original Article


The development of a framework for defining net zero energy and net zero carbon homes has seen significant progress over the past decade. With anthropogenic climate change the principal driver, numerous governments are moving to regulate homes at or near a net zero energy or net zero carbon performance level. What has been missing in the literature is a discussion of how the basic principles of performance-based building regulation will shape the definition. The very nature of performance-based regulation as a legally contestable instrument shapes and limits the content of a regulatory definition. This paper examines the recent literature on zero energy and zero carbon building definition frameworks, explores the key characteristics of performance-based standards and determines practical definitions that could be adopted within performance-based building codes.


Zero energy Zero carbon Residential building Energy efficiency Performance-based regulation 



The authors acknowledge the advice and support of Dr Nick Eyre, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford and the anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and constructive comments in preparing this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Barbara Hardy InstituteUniversity of South Australia, Mawson LakesAdelaideAustralia

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