Net-zero construction is growing rapidly: In 2016, 33 percent more net-zero units were built across the United States and Canada than in the previous year. In total, that's 8,023 new single-family and multifamily net-zero units added to the pipeline in one year.
Net-zero homes are structures that produce at least as much energy as they consume. More builders are experimenting with net-zero construction; prominent examples include a big suburban development in Austin called Whisper Valley, an elementary school in Staten Island, N.Y., and a new Cornell campus dormitory in New York.
Builders are also increasing the scale of such projects. Sixty-one percent of the net-zero buildings built in 2016 were part of larger multiunit projects. The largest single-family development, which is to consist of 350 units, is at University of California-Davis’s West Village.
Interest is being driven by new city- and statewide policy initiatives, regulations, and emission-reduction goals. In California alone, net-zero units surged 104 percent last year. Expect net-zero to become an even bigger niche in the coming years. Net-zero and near-zero energy buildings likely will jump to a $1.3 trillion market globally by 2025, forecasts Lux Research, a market research firm.
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And read about Austin's own Whisper Valley here: