Often, in discussions of climate solutions, policymakers target mass transportation, clean energy generation, and changing consumption habits. All important aspects of a robust climate action plan. Less discussed, but perhaps as or more important than all other solutions, is the transition towards zero net emission buildings.
The concept is simple: utilize new building materials, technology, and design so the net output of emissions from homes, businesses and industry are zero. While the goal is laudable, to many, it seems out of reach. However, cities like Boston, San Francisco, Austin and many more across the country are already hard at work.
The move towards net-zero is a winner across sectors. Businesses and industry benefit from utility savings. Residents see their energy bills decrease. Well paying and stable jobs are created to retrofit and construct net-zero buildings. Mayors and municipal leaders see local economies boom. All of this as the root causes of climate change, fossil fuel emissions, are slashed.
By Johanna Partin and Michael Shank | CO EXIST | March 25, 2016
There is a movement happening all across America that few people are talking about. And while it may not be sexy, it is serious and substantial. The building sector, which comprises the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, is moving toward zero net emissions.
That means the carbon footprint of commercial, residential and municipal buildings in leading cities will be zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. That means these buildings won’t consume more energy for heating, hot water, lights and appliances than they produce—and they may even be net energy producers.
Cities all across the North American continent—New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Vancouver, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Austin—and across the Atlantic Ocean are implementing plans now to eliminate energy waste, make buildings energy neutral or positive, maximize building energy efficiency, and decarbonize building energy.
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