APO resource visit counts have been improved. For more information, see our Policies & Guidelines


Zero net energy (ZNE) project guide for state buildings (US)

12 Apr 2018

Zero Net Energy (ZNE) is possible for many buildings and this ZNE Project Guide for State Buildings can help DGS and its agencies on the path to zero energy for new construction and major renovation projects.

A ZNE building is an extremely energy efficient building that is designed and operated to produce as much energy as it consumes over the course of the year. ZNE buildings are no longer solely demonstration projects and market outliers. NBI’s 2018 Getting to Zero Status Update and Zero Energy Building List includes a wide-range of mainstream building and ownership types that reflect a universal trend toward ZNE adoption.

ZNE is feasible in both new construction and existing building renovation. Teams have found that ZNE buildings do not always cost more to build, especially when ZNE is a goal from the start. Plus, they provide exemplary spaces for their occupants. ZNE buildings are thermally and acoustically comfortable and offer glare-free daylighting, which creates a highly productive environment. They also have significantly lower operations and maintenance costs.

The steps to achieve ZNE are different from a traditional building planning process. This checklist and guide are intended to explain those differences and assist project teams in the development of a ZNE building, starting in the initial budget stages and following through construction to ZNE verification. Included are resources, checklists, and a worksheet to inform a process of gaining stakeholder support, selecting a qualified design team, managing the design and construction process, occupying a ZNE building, and verifying a ZNE result. While this guide is intended solely for new construction and major renovation projects, existing building operators may find helpful suggestions for minor retrofits and operational efficiencies.

The ZNE Checklist is broken into three sections and should be evaluated throughout the project and considered during predesign, design, and operations and verification. Each item on the checklist has a corresponding section in the ZNE Project Guide. Not all items on the checklist will apply to your project. The guide is not meant to be read cover-to-cover but rather should be used as a reference as you envision, design, build, and occupy the ZNE building. Use the guide to see recommendations and feed discussions during design, construction, and operations using considerations for each topic and review the resources for further research. The ZNE Project Reporting Tool at the end of this document should be used to describe how each item in the checklist was evaluated and to document the associated ZNE decision to assist future projects.

Publication Details
License Type: 
All Rights Reserved
Published year only: 
Subject Areas
Geographic Coverage