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

  • Solar Industry Awaits President’s Decision on Tariffs
    January 11, 2018

    News Brief

    Opponents say trade barriers on solar cells and panels would eliminate jobs and curb the growth of solar energy in the U.S.

  • Counting Carbon: Understanding Carbon Footprints of Buildings
    June 27, 2008

    Feature Article

    Everyone seems to be talking about measuring carbon footprints and designing carbon-neutral buildings, but these terms mean different things to different people. Some focus just on operating energy, while others also look at transportation, materials, and other building-related emissions. As with so many things, the results depend on what you count and how you count it.

  • Is Nano a No-No? Nanotechnology Advances into Buildings
    March 1, 2008

    Feature Article

    Nanotechnology takes advantage of the novel properties that particles can exhibit at a billionth of a meter in size. Those properties are being used in building materials, where they can improve thermal performance and the effectiveness of photovoltaics, among many possibilities. The field has little regulation, however, despite significant health and environmental concerns.

  • The Challenge of Existing Homes: Retrofitting for Dramatic Energy Savings
    July 10, 2007

    Feature Article

    Greenhouse gas emissions associated with residential energy use account for a fifth of all emissions in the U.S. Retrofitting existing houses to achieve a two- to three-fold reduction in energy use is necessary if we are to achieve the emissions reductions scientists say are required for avoiding catastrophic climate change. Here's a look at how it can be done.

  • In the Pipeline: District Energy and Green Building
    March 6, 2007

    Feature Article

    Very common in northern Europe, district energy systems use a network of buried, insulated pipes to distribute centrally produced steam, hot water, or chilled water to heat or cool multiple buildings. These systems can make use of waste heat from power generation (combined heat and power) or renewable fuel sources to help reduce the environmental impacts of buildings and communities.

  • Petal Certifications Help the Living Building Challenge Jump in Scale
    August 2, 2017

    News Brief

    With recent and upcoming certifications, the Living Building Challenge breaks out of its boutique building typology.

  • How RECs Work—and Why You Might Not Own Your Clean Energy
    February 7, 2017


    Even if you buy into a solar farm or host an array, someone else can claim the benefits. Here’s how to get what you expect.

  • BuildingGreen Announces Top 10 Products for 2017
    October 4, 2016

    Product Review

    Our innovative Top 10 product selections reduce stormwater and wastewater, improve efficiency and IAQ, and contain fewer hazardous materials.


  • DC Power Supply Integrates AC and Renewables
    September 7, 2016

    Product Review

    Nextek PhD provides AC-to-DC power at the building scale, integrates renewable energy, and can even save on first costs.

  • Net Zero Energy Is Achievable: Here’s How
    August 3, 2016

    Blog Post

    The concept of the net zero energy (NZE) is a mature one, with established technology providing a clear path, especially for low- and mid-rise buildings.