It will be challenging – but it may become economically and technically feasible – to achieve net zero energy in a variety of new and existing commercial buildings. The basic steps are clear: make the building as energy efficient as possible through integrated design and the use of energy-saving technologies, add renewable energy on site and through the electrical grid, and ensure optimal building performance over time.
Increasingly, policy and the market alike are driving building owners to focus on sustainability, livability and productivity. As energy prices and energy security concerns increase, and as information technology allows better performance tracking, building owners and occupants are seeking more information on the performance of their buildings. The net zero energy building is an idea that has captured technologists, architects and governments around the world. But is it possible?