2018 Getting to Zero Status Update and List of Zero Energy Projects

1 Sep 2018

Since 2010, New Buildings Institute has tracked the developing market for zero energy buildings. We are pleased to share this latest 2018 Getting to Zero Status Update and Zero Energy Buildings List, which summarizes the growth and trends from nearly 500 certified, verified and emerging zero energy projects across the United States and Canada.

In the Buildings List, nearly 500 ZE commercial building projects of all sizes, types and in all climates are presented. Projects owned by for-profit companies now make up 26% of the List—greater than K-12 schools (18%) which are leaders in ZE building adoption. Privately-held buildings overall account for 46% of ZE buildings approaching that of public buildings which were early adopters.

The highest growth in new projects is in multifamily, with an increase of 40 buildings: effectively doubling the count since 2016. Public assembly, schools, and of offices are next with strong increases in their number of projects. Education facilities continue to be in the ZE spotlight, leading the List with 37% (178) of all projects. California is paving the way for all schools to get to zero through its zero energy school retrofit demonstrations. Community approaches are critical to scale ZE buildings and this List includes community, district, and/or campus examples that are bringing groups of buildings together on the path to zero.

We also have some newcomers in the ‘other’ building type category with four new light manufacturing projects, a car dealership, and a ski area joining the Getting to Zero early adopter corps. Healthcare, lodging, and retail are yet to have much representation, likely due to their higher energy intensity and more complex occupancy conditions, making the few we know of even more valuable as exemplars. Warehouse/storage shares the low-end of adoption yet are in the opposite position regarding ease to get to zero energy and should therefore be a priority for accelerating adoption.

We also share policy rankings for states working to realize energy and climate action goals through stringency in energy codes, updates on residential ZE buildings
from the Net Zero Energy Coalition, tell about our two exciting new alliances on ZE certification, discuss our efforts to provide extensive resource references that support the collective good work to make progress in Getting to Zero.

By creating a standardized metric that defines a building’s operational performance as a grid asset, many doors open. Utilities can incentivize grid-sensitive design. Government agencies can include the metric in their procurement requirements or other policies. Designers, owners, and operators can consider grid impacts with a sensible, straightforward approach. Future building codes can begin to encourage the adoption of these solutions and help ensure that new buildings coming online will be good grid citizens.

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