Technology to achieve zero net energy available for most buildings, but challenges remain, finds Navigant

by Brianna Crandall — March 6, 2017 — A new report from Navigant Research analyzes the global market for zero net energy (ZNE) buildings in the residential and commercial sectors, concluding that the technology to achieve ZNE is available for almost any building type, yet cost and education remain a challenge. The report examines major market changes as well as drivers and barriers, key technology and design trends, and related regulation and outreach programs.

As local and global energy issues continue to intensify, a greater emphasis is being placed on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and building energy use. Changes in technology, regulation, and education have allowed zero energy buildings (ZEBs) to penetrate different markets across various building types outside of the single-family residences and one-story office buildings that were first able to achieve zero net energy.

Benjamin Freas, principal research analyst with Navigant Research, pointed out:

An increasing number of ZNE building pilots has proven the feasibility of wider adoption. Yet the cost associated with reaching net zero is currently not acceptable to most building owners.

Despite these barriers, regulation, education, and market awareness continue to expand and are expected to help move the ZNE and ZEB markets forward, according to the report. Drivers behind zero net energy projects include operating cost reductions, energy security, and customer attraction, among others.

The Net Zero Energy Buildings report, available for purchase from Navigant Research, analyzes the global market for ZNE buildings in the residential and commercial sectors. The study examines the major changes in the ZNE buildings market in the last few years, as well as issues that are keeping the market from taking off or becoming more mainstream.

Key technology and design trends are analyzed, with a focus on analysis tools and design methods. The report also examines the regulations and education and outreach programs related to zero net energy buildings. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research Web site.