Residential Net Zero

What was once a differentiator will sooner than later become standard. The one-off residential ZNE projects, or zero energy upgrade options offered by more progressive homebuilders, will become less an outlier in the next five or so years. As California prepares to move towards implementing residential zero net energy code by 2020, it is uncertain how this goal will be met, what stakeholders will be most impacted, and how zero net energy for all new construction will look. In what part of the development process will zero net energy be determined? What are the metrics associated with validating a zero energy home, or complex, or community? Where, and by whom, will the training come from to educate relevant parties of the residential homebuilding process on residential zero net energy construction? And most importantly, who’s going to pay for this?

Many will agree that ZNE needs to be a top down directive from the State to gain traction; however, in order to be successful, there will be a need for leadership at the local level to pave the road and propel others to readily adopt more stringent energy codes. Several notable cities on an aggressive energy efficiency and climate change mitigation track are the City of Chula Vista and the City of Santa Monica. These Southern CA municipalities are investing resources in deep energy efficiency, supporting sustainable building design, and are leading the way for others to follow. In this session, we’ll hear from city representatives about the leadership propelling these efforts, the goals set forth by each city, and how each region will strive to reach zero net energy residential code before the State mandate. As a complement, DNV GL Sustainable Buildings and Communities team will share information regarding the development of an innovative process to validate net zero energy prior to building residential homes and communities. The need to support the ZNE verification process for developers will be challenging in terms of funding, entitlement, permitting and construction; traditionally, this ultimately falls on city officials to determine compliance. With the Net Zero Impact tool, DNV GL aims to reduce the risk for developers to meet their ZNE goals, and to lessen the burden of municipalities to dedicate precious human resources in the ZNE compliance space. The result will be a streamlined way to reach zero net energy construction that will adhere to both advanced local codes and ordinances, and ultimately ZNE residential code as we approach 2020.

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