While precise definitions vary, Zero Energy Buildings are buildings which consume no more energy than they produce using renewable resources over the course of a year. The proliferation of such buildings as the standard in our built environment is the ultimate goal of NEEP’s buildings work. We now have the technology to cost-effectively design and construct according to a zero energy standard—combining renewable generation with a well-sealed building envelope and high performance HVAC/Lighting/Appliances­—yet, few buildings currently rise to such a standard. NEEP has explored steps forward in its Roadmap to Zero Net Energy Public Buildings, and continues to provide a conduit to outside resources which can aid in the proliferation of zero energy buildings.

New Resource- Roadmap to Zero Energy Public Buildings: Update

In December 2019, NEEP published an update to the 2016 Progress Report. The updated report, Roadmap to Zero Energy Public Buildings: Update provides a look at the current landscape of zero energy public buildings. New information is provided for state progress in benchmarking, stretch codes, programs, and financing for zero energy public buildings. Understanding that many states are continuing programs captured in the 2016 report, the 2019 update also includes a "Continuing the Momentum" section that provides suggestions to build upon the work they are doing.

Roadmap to Zero Energy Public Buildings: Progress Report

In June 2016, NEEP released a progress report to supplement the original Roadmap entitled the Roadmap to Zero Energy Public Buildings: Progress Report. This progress report details how each state has progressed towards meeting the "critical next steps" in the three years since the publication. Additionally, the report contains new information regarding policies, regulations and initiatives that support zero energy policies and construction in the region.

Roadmap to Zero Net Energy Public Buildings

In 2012, NEEP produced a report called the Roadmap to Zero Net Energy Public Buildings and its accompanying one page summary, recommending steps for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to aid in the design and construction of zero energy public buildings. Recommendations include: (1) Developing of a high performance information campaign; (2) Supporting measurement and reporting of building energy performance; (3) Implementing stretch building energy codes; and (4) Creating a financing mechanism to provide capital for investment.

Outside Resources

Department of Energy

Zero Energy Schools Accelerator - In late 2016, the U.S. DOE launched the latest Better Buildings Accelerator aimed to increase momentum in the construction of Zero Energy buildings by having schools lead by example.

High Performance Buildings Database- The U.S. Department of Energy's High Performance Buildings Database highlights projects from across the country and provides ideas that can be applied to any new building.

Zero Energy Commercial Buildings Consortium - A consortium working with the U.S. Department of Energy to achieve sector-wide market transformation. Several resources and reports are available here.

DOE Releases Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings - In the fall of 2015, DOE released its final definition of zero energy buildings: "an energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy".

New Buildings Institute

An affiliate of NEEP, the New Buildings Institute (NBI) has produced a comprehensive set of resources related to zero energy, including a list of verified zero energy buildings.


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