Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

What:

Zero-Net-Energy (ZNE) is a term most commonly associated with residential and commercial buildings, although it is completely possible for any habitable structure to be a net-zero structure.

A ZNE building, net-zero energy building (NZEB), or Net Zero Building, is a building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site, or nearby.

This definition doesn’t account for the type of energy used, though. Where this becomes important is if the building uses natural gas, propane, or some other fuel besides electricity.

Why:

Net Zero buildings consequently contribute less overall greenhouse gas to the atmosphere than similar non-ZNE buildings. They do at times consume non-renewable energy and produce greenhouse gases, but at other times reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas production elsewhere by the same amount.

Most zero net energy buildings get half or more of their energy from the grid, and return the same amount at other times. Buildings that produce a surplus of energy over the year may be called “energy-plus buildings” and buildings that consume slightly more energy than they produce are called “near-zero energy buildings” or “ultra-low energy houses.”

Traditional buildings consume 40% of the total fossil fuel energy in the US and European Union and are significant contributors of greenhouse gases. The zero net energy consumption principle is viewed as a means to reduce carbon emissions and reduce dependence on fossil fuels and although zero-energy buildings remain uncommon even in developed countries, they are gaining importance and popularity.

Most zero-energy buildings use the electrical grid for energy storage but some are independent of the grid. Energy is usually harvested on-site through energy producing technologies like solar and wind, but mostly solar PV, while reducing the overall use of energy with highly efficient HVAC and lighting technologies such as LED. Zero-Net-Energy goal is becoming more practical as the costs of alternative energy technologies decrease and the costs of traditional fossil fuels increase.

Process:

Once a full diagnostic testing is conducted and completed, which includes building air leakage, duct leakage, combustion safety testing, insulation inspection, and many other tests that we conduct, we will then supply you with a full and detailed energy modeling report, as well as a fully detailed report entailing the game plan and recommendations to reach your Zero Net Energy goal.

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For more info, feel free to call us at 510 926 8058 or fill out the form below.