Net zero energy buildings are becoming more mainstream as technologies and processes improve, and renewable energy becomes less costly. Increasingly, innovators are focusing on how to take existing buildings to net zero.
Whether for new or existing buildings, getting to net zero means first maximizing energy efficiency, then adding renewable generation to cover remaining energy needs. The process of taking an existing building to net zero energy is similar to that for a deep energy retrofit, but with some additional considerations. Those additional considerations or steps include:
Choosing a definition of net zero energy
Iterative modeling, design and costing of energy measures. This modeling should include both weighing the levelized costs between efficiency and renewables and an analysis of net metering, load leveling and matching generation.
Phasing installation and implementation
Net zero energy is considered the pinnacle of achievement in energy performance – a real challenge to the market – even some are now striving for “energy positive” buildings. Increasingly, the case for undertaking a net zero retrofit is compelling: leading occupants and tenants are starting to ask, designers are increasingly comfortable making net zero designs, and the net zero concept has been noticed among savvy building owners as a market differentiator.
What is needed now is support to scale up the process to move from the experiences of the few into a broader market expansion. With Rocky Mountain Institute, we explore the process of taking an existing building to net zero and share examples:
Reinventing Existing Buildings: Eight Steps To Net Zero Energy
Learn more, read the Issue Brief: Reinventing Existing Buildings: Eight Steps to Net Zero Energy and view the Infographic: Roadmap to Net Zero in Existing Commercial Buildings.