Net Zero buildings are so efficient, they average zero greenhouse gas emissions.
We need 9.7% of new buildings to be Net Zero to reverse climate change by 2050
What Can I Do?
Act: Consider net zero if you’re going to be building or renovating a space: DIY Net Zero Home Guides; Net Zero renovations; and the UK's one week to Net Zero kit.
Advocate: Your regional / national green building association may have a proposed policy which you can write to your officials requesting they implement. Brazil, France, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the USA’s green building councils all have policy strategies. California already has an excellent net zero energy section of their state’s energy efficiency plan.
Aware: Show your interest and create demand for net zero by requesting it in your community, including in your research, writing or featuring in the media, and of course, gabbing with your friends and family! The more interest, the more likely building companies will take the initiative to learn and implement.
Access: While net zero buildings have extremely low operating costs, the initial investment can be high. Consider public-private partnerships and private-public investments, one of the strategies used to start South Korea’s NZ House.
Anything else? Let us know what you and others can do to support net zero.
Who's Doing It?
SOUTH KOREA - After five years of planning and preparation, South Korea launched NZ House, the first Net Zero building born out of a public-private partnership in the country. By definition, a Net Zero building produces as much renewable energy as it uses and therefore is self-sufficient and sustainable.
Located in Nowon district, EZ House is an apartment complex of 100 households that produces sufficient energy for heating and cooling, and ventilation and lighting.
(Continued) Who's Doing It?
Built with almost 1300 solar panels, each EZ unit uses technology that is energy-efficient. We're talking triple-glazed windows, aluminum blinds, high quality insulation and walls twice as thick as ordinary buildings.
With efficient energy systems in place, the complex serves as a model of self-sustainable architecture that keeps the environment and long-term benefits in mind. Not only does it reduce the carbon footprint on the planet, EZ House also helps reduce costs for maintenance and operation, handles power outages more flexibly and improves energy security. It also serves as a case study for public-private partnerships.
More about Net Zero
Example features of net zero buildings include:
-Thicker walls which help keep a comfortable 20 degrees Celsius without using heating during the winter
-Designing the house to take advantage of the natural heating of the sun
-Using daylight as much as possible instead of electricity
-Heat pumps to take advantage of the natural heat and cooling of the ground
"Net zero buildings were once a novelty, but are becoming more commonplace [...] Newer net zero buildings push the margins further: zero water and zero waste. They harvest rainwater and process sewage on-site into compost..." - Drawdown.org
Credits and Sources:
Cover photo from Dr. Eung-Shin Lee, a resident researcher at EZ HOUSE
Statistics and other information: http://www.drawdown.org/solutions/buildings-and-cities/net-zero-buildings
Inspiration for concept and some content from the Drawdown team's 100 solutions to reverse climate change, though we are not formally affiliated
Article written and researched by Jahnvi Pananchikal and edited by Full Footprint team
Slideshow image credits:
1&2 http://www.seouland.com/arti/2451.html, photo by Ryu Jong reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
6 Dr. Eung-Shin Lee
12 Screenshot from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWQIGUOUVR8