Builders Zero In on New Goal of Energy-Neutral Housing
December 23, 2009
*This story’s interactive graphics showing the different techniques to make energy-neutral buildings are worth a click. Lots of good ideas.
From Jim Carlton at the Wall Street Journal: The green building movement is targeting a goal once thought virtually unattainable: zero net energy use. While the trend is nascent, dozens of “net zero” and “near net zero” developments — projects designed to use only about as much power from the public grid as they can save or produce on their own — have sprung up across the U.S. over the past five years.
In Greenfield, Mass., nonprofit Rural Development Inc. has completed eight of 20 planned duplex homes that use almost no net energy. In Berkeley, Calif., ZETA Communities Inc. plans to build a 30-unit net-zero apartment building after opening a factory that can construct 400 to 500 prefabricated net-zero homes a year. And in Green Valley, Ariz., builder Pepper Viner Homes says it plans to incorporate green techniques into a senior housing community so that it reduces energy use more than 50%. U.S. officials are working to wean federal buildings off fossil fuel by 2020, a step they say will help the buildings become almost net-zero energy users. Read more