Net-Zero Energy & Renewables

U.S. Department of Energy (public domain)


With alternative energy sources becoming more affordable, we are finally starting to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

But as the industry expands, there are some growing pains. These systems open up new ways of thinking about our relationship to energy production and consumption, and they impact rating systems such as LEED and Passive House.

The resources found here provide guidance and a better understanding of topics like:

  • net-zero energy

  • thermal energy storage

  • innovative battery systems

  • fuel cells

  • community solar

  • Zero-Energy Buildings for All
    April 25, 2018

    Blog Post

    There is increasing movement for buildings to reach net-zero energy, but they can't do it alone. Here's how to fix the system.

  • How to Succeed with the Living Building Challenge: 12 Teams Share Tips
    January 4, 2015

    Feature Article

    The bar is high—that’s obvious—but watch out for some surprising pitfalls. Here’s how dedicated teams have tackled Living Building challenges.

  • Solar Helps Power a Campus While Engaging Students
    March 6, 2018

    News Analysis

    Hampshire College expect its new solar arrays will save the college nearly $500,000 a year and educate the next generation of students in the process.

  • Solar Thermal Hot Water, Heating, and Cooling
    August 30, 2011

    Feature Article

    By creating heat instead of electricity, solar thermal achieves three times the efficiency of photovoltaics at a lower price.

  • Trump Imposes Tariffs on Imported Solar Panels
    January 24, 2018

    News Brief

    The Solar Energy Industry Association says tariffs will cost 23,000 jobs.

  • The Problem with Net-Zero Buildings (and the Case for Net-Zero Neighborhoods)
    July 30, 2010

    Feature Article

    It can be tough to make an individual building into a zero energy building, while working at the community scale can offer up opportunities for energy efficiency and cost-effective renewable energy generation.

  • Making Your Own Electricity: Onsite Photovoltaic Systems
    October 30, 2009

    Feature Article

    Although photovoltaic systems have a long payback period, generous incentives and tax credits can make the systems attractive for building owners interested in reducing their carbon footprint.

  • Design for Adaptation: Living in a Climate-Changing World
    August 28, 2009

    Feature Article

    Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, rising global temperatures would still bring major changes to the climate system and our way of life. This article offers solutions for designing buildings that not only mitigate our impact on the global climate, but also adapt to the changes that are coming-and those that are already here.

  • The Living Building Challenge: Can It Really Change the World?
    May 29, 2009

    Feature Article

    The Living Building Challenge, with its stringent, all-or-nothing requirements, is out to change the way we build. But is it actually achievable?

  • The Folly of Building-Integrated Wind
    April 29, 2009

    Feature Article

    Wind turbines on buildings could produce electricity where it's needed and catch high winds above ground level. However, wind turbulence, safety, cost, and poor performance all make building-integrated wind a limited strategy.