Net Zero: Rational Performance Targets for High Performance Buildings

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering book series (LNEE, volume 242)


Sustainability suggests that society should live within the limits of nature and the resources that are locally available. However, the ecological footprint of society, particularly developed countries has been enormous, necessitating the import of enormous quantities of energy, materials, and water and the export and disposal of equally enormous quantities of waste. A relatively new concept known as Net Zero, proposes that the built environment and, by extension, building users and owners, be powered and resourced from the local environment, and preferably from the building site. The most advanced of these concepts, Net Zero Energy, has resulted in actual building projects where the facility annually generates as much energy from renewable sources as it consumes. Similarly a Net ZeroWater building must be designed to match water consumption with local rainfall, wastewater recycling, and water storage strategies. In the same spirit, the net zero strategy is being extended to materials, emissions, and carbon. This paper will address how this new strategy is affecting the design and construction of high-performance buildings in the US and how national and local governments have begun to incorporate net zero into building regulations. Several recent projects are discussed as case studies to illustrate the direction.


Net zero energy Net zero water Net zero materials Net zero Emissions net Zero carbon 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Powell Center for Construction and Environment M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building ConstructionUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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