Meritage Homes is currently constructing one of the first zero net energy (ZNE) communities in Fontana, California, with completion of six of the 20 homes expected this July. This accomplishment signifies that California is moving toward the California Energy Commission’s goal of achieving ZNE buildings for all new residential and commercial construction by 2020 and 2030, respectively. As discussed in previous blogs, state policy is really important in driving ZNE, and California’s ambitious goal aligns with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Net-Zero Energy Commercial Building Initiative.
Commercial ZNE Buildings in California
According to the New Building Institute’s (NBI) Getting to Zero database, over 60 ZNE commercial projects have been completed in California to date, and California has produced almost one-third of the nation’s ZNE buildings. Last month, NBI announced the California ZNE Watchlist, the first state list for tracking ZNE commercial buildings.
By 2025, Navigant Research estimates that California’s commercial square footage of new ZNE projects will reach 23,704,000 SF, or 7% of the commercial building stock, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49% from 2014. Based on Navigant Research’s Zero Energy Buildings report, the number of ZNE buildings is expected to grow, while square footage of individual ZNE projects is anticipated to decrease between 2014 and 2025, due to the increasing relative ease of reaching ZNE status in smaller buildings in the next decade.
Commercial Zero Energy Buildings, California: 2014-2025
(Source: Navigant Research)
California Market Perception of ZNE and Integrated Design Concepts
On behalf of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and California investor-owned utilities (IOUs), Navigant Consulting recently conducted the Measure, Application, Segment, Industry: Integrated Design for New Construction Buildings study. It reports on the results of a survey of California Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) firms in order to understand how the current market perceives and understands ZNE and integrated design (ID) concepts. The survey revealed the following:
- Although defined at the national and state levels, no market consensus exists as to what constitutes a ZNE building or the implementation of ID.
- AEC firms are aware of energy efficiency and renewable energy IOU programs, but their depth of understanding regarding options for offsetting consumption via renewable power is limited.
- AEC firms that operate in California may not be well-informed as to ZNE and ID resources provided by IOU programs.
- Rebates are very well-known by AEC firms, but the degree to which they drive ZNE adoption is not clear.
From previous studies, California knows that ZNE is technically feasible, but a big effort is still needed to advance the market toward 2020 and 2030 goals. California’s aggressive ZNE target requires equipment engineering, building design, construction, and building operation vigilance. The market is in the innovator stage of adoption, so IOUs must continue to pursue ZNE pilot projects with incentives and offer ZNE design assistance and concept training to AEC firms. Building developers need to continue to explore pathways to ZNE buildings beyond code energy efficiency levels, emphasizing measures expected for inclusion in Title 24 2016 and Title 24 2019. These things are already beginning to happen; California must keep pushing ahead.
Tags: Building Innovations, Energy Efficient Buildings, Zero Energy Buildings, Zero Net Energy
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