Zero-Net Energy Defined

August 17, 2014
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A Zero-Net Energy (ZNE) building generates at least as much energy as it consumes annually.

Specifically, the California Energy Commission, working with the CPUC and numerous stakeholders, has proposed the following definition for a “ZNE Code Building”:

“…one where the net of the amount of energy produced by on‐site renewable energy resources is equal to the value of the energy consumed annually by the building, at the level of a single “project” seeking development entitlements and building code permits, measured using the California Energy Commission’s Time Dependent Valuation (TDV) metric. A ZNE Code Building meets an Energy Use Intensity value designated in the Building Energy Efficiency Standards by building type and climate zone that reflect best practices for highly efficient buildings.”

– 2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR)

ZNE-Definition - Image credit: McHugh Energy Consultants)

ZNE new buildings have been a goal of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in the Long‐Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) in the Climate Change Scoping Plan and Governor Brown’s Clean  Energy Jobs Plan

Separately, Governor Brown’s Executive Order B‐18‐1213 calls for all newly constructed State buildings and major renovations that begin design after 2025 be constructed as zero‐net‐energy facilities. The Executive Order also calls for achieving zero-net‐energy for 50 percent of the square footage of existing state‐owned building area by 2025.

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