Recent reports from the Net-Zero Energy Coalition indicate that net-zero energy homes are becoming more popular, thanks in large part to changing local energy standards and specifications.
“Net-zero energy homes,” more simply known as “zero energy homes,” produce enough energy to meet its total energy consumption needs, as explained by the Department of Energy (DOE). These homes typically have on-site solar panels and likely incorporate recycled water systems throughout the facility. In the past, zero energy homes might have been seen as expensive and out of reach. But today, this new form of sustainable construction is becoming more common, and influencing local energy regulations along the way. In March 2017, the city ofSanta Monica, California became the first city in the United States to mandate that all new single-family construction be zero energy. That’s not surprising when considering California’s ambitious goals in addressing climate change, as outlined by Governor Brown in early 2015. The state aims to source 50 percent of the state’s energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030. Local regulations, such as that laid out in Santa Monica, will certainly move California closer to achieving that milestone.
While it might be expected that California would carry the mantle for sustainable construction, the rate of zero energy homes popping up around the country grew 33 percent in 2016, as reported by the Net-Zero Energy Coalition. And yet for many areas of the country, zero energy homes are still a distant achievement. In fact the state of Georgia only has three known zero energy homes, according to DOE. Nevertheless, with the growing demand for renewable energy production and local standards becoming more ambitious, zero energy homes may become more commonplace and attainable.
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