Net-Zero Energy & Renewables

U.S. Department of Energy (public domain)

Net-zero energy use is the ability of a building to supply its own energy over the course of a year by using renewables (typically onsite renewables, though some definitions include offsite procurement).

Alternative energy sources like photovoltaics are becoming more affordable, increasing the possibility that a building project can achieve net-zero energy. And as more buildings use renewables along with storage technologies, there are opportunities to harmonize with the grid and use more renewable energy from there as well.

Net-Zero Energy & Renewables

Deep Dives

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  • Making Your Own Electricity: Onsite Photovoltaic Systems

    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

    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?

    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

    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.

Quick Takes

Jump straight to the essentials with these short explanations of green building concepts.


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Product Guidance

Unbiased information from our product experts helps you separate green from greenwash.


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  • The World's Most Efficient Solar Thermal Collector?

    Product Review

    The Ritter XL solar thermal system combines the most efficient technology to generate hot water for commercial, multifamily, and district heating.

  • Crystalline Technology Still Dominates PV Landscape

    Product Review

    Crystalline PV produces more energy per square foot than thin-film but both are viable systems, so consider your space limitations as well as your energy needs and budget.

  • Sol Power Tile: Integrating PV into Clay Roofing

    Product Review

    SRS Energy's Solé Power Tiles incorporate thin-film PV into a building-integrated system that matches the profile of clay tiles and provides homeowners and businesses an alternative to crystalline panels.

  • Mobile Photovoltaic Power Generators

    Product Review

    Mobile photovoltaic generators can provide a silent power supply for construction sites and other off-grid applications without the use of fossil fuels.

In The News

We break news down to the essentials and provide expert analysis.


Perspective

Thought-provoking opinions from the most trusted minds in sustainability.


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Learning Resources

Syllabus supplements and CEU content, with automatic reporting for AIA and GBCI.


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Just For Fun

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