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Home > Feature Articles > Sustainable Development Best Practices for Community Sustainability

Beyond LEED: Getting to Net Zero in Green Buildings

Net Zero Energy Buildings go beyond LEED -- they are the goal for the next generation of retrofits and new building.

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Getting to Net Zero

It isn’t enough to have a LEED platinum building anymore. Many designers, engineers and developers are pushing the envelope by designing and building carbon neutral and net zero buildings.

What is a net zero energy building (NZEB)?

A NZEB is a building that, on an annual basis, produces as much energy as it uses.

Quite simply, the writing is on the wall: our quality of life, today and in the future depends on using energy more efficiently.

Paul Schwer, P.E. LEED AP has written an article, found on the BetterBricks website, called "Carbon Neutral and Net Zero Buildings-How Soon Can We Get There?" explaining the importance and describing NZEB.

"Designing and constructing a NZEB requires commitment, special expertise and collaboration in an integrated process, from all members of the project team," stated Schwer.

Leadership in green building is mobilizing:

  • Architecture 2030 by AIA
  • DOE’s Building Technologies Program - US Department of Energy
  • LEED Rating System: US Green Building Council (USGBC) USGBC has raised the bar even higher with its “Living Building Challenge,” which sets forth 16 prerequisites that all buildings must meet, including net zero energy.
  • “ASHRAE Vision 2020” program – Mechanical engineers are focused on developing the “the tools necessary to design, construct, and operate NZEBS”

Read more about NZEB buildings and how the built environment can get there.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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