Every year, New Buildings Institute (NBI) digs into its extensive Getting to Zero Buildings Database and analyzes the information collected from thousands of low-energy projects across the United States and Canada in order to offer the market an official count of zero energy (ZE) buildings and related trends. ZE is defined as ultra-low energy projects that consume only as much power as can be generated onsite by clean, renewable resources. However, this definition is evolving to consider multiple buildings in a campus or neighborhood that use a larger, central solar array.
The official 2019 count is 580 certified, verified and emerging projects, according to the 2019 Getting to Zero Project List that NBI released yesterday. That is a 10-fold increase since NBI started tracking buildings in 2012. Growth in the count is confirmed by reported plans to invest in zero energy buildings over the next 10 years, according to Johnson Controls’ 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator Study. Clay Nesler, Vice President of Global Sustainability and Industry Initiatives at Johnson Controls, presented the findings during a webinar yesterday explaining that of their customers surveyed, “61% of U.S. respondents are very or extremely likely to have one or more facilities that are nearly zero, net zero, or positive energy or carbon status within the next 10 years.”