As with all terms environmental, the devil is in the definition and the lawyers have been hard at work with so called zero energy buildings. A net ZEB, by definition, produces as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. To get to that point, buildings owners make their buildings as efficient as possible and then use, in the typical case, on-site renewable energy to get into zero energy territory. But there are other variations, including net zero site energy, net zero source energy, net zero energy costs, net zero energy emissions, and near zero energy, all of which have been kindly defined by the DOE. The DOE, as assisted by Building Green, has also launched a Zero Energy Buildings Database, with the following four buildings.
- Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, Baraboo, WI
- Audubon Center at Debs Park, Los Angeles, CA
- Oberlin College Lewis Center, Oberlin, OH
- Science House, St. Paul, MN (above)
You’ve probably seen some of these green buildings previously and will likely see the list get beefed up as more projects are submitted. I’ve even seen some positive energy building claims out there, so let’s grow the list. Make sure to get your projects submitted to be considered for inclusion in the database.