California Wants All New Homes to Be Net Zero in 2020

By Katherine Tweed, Greentech Media

California has moved one step closer to making one of its “big, bold energy-efficiency strategies” outlined seven years ago a reality.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) have launched a residential Zero Net Energy Action Plan to build a self-sustaining market for all new homes to be net-zero energy by 2020.

“Zero Net Energy has been a vision for California for nearly 10 years, and with this industry-supported Action Plan, we are now ready to make that vision a reality with feasible, market-driven concepts to transform the new residential housing market,” CPUC Commissioner Carla J. Peterman said in a statement.

Zero-net-energy buildings produce as much energy as they consume, usually through a mix of high efficiency and clean onsite generation. The definition requires that a home create as much energy as it uses over the course of an entire year, rather than on a real-time basis.

In California, homes consume nearly one-third of the energy used in the state. It’s not just single-family homes that California is trying to reinvent. The action plan also applies to multifamily homes of less than three stories and low-income housing.

While the prospect of being able to develop net-zero, or passive, homes is increasingly realistic due to falling prices for solar and the increased efficiency of many household appliances, it’s still not easy.

Read full article from Greentech Media

(TAGS: Zero-net-energy, passive homes)

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