Zero Net Energy: What Is the Initiative?

How many times do you turn the lights on in your house? How often do you turn the heat on in your home during the winter, or crank the A/C in the summer? Every time you click that thermostat to a higher temperature or turn your light switches on, you’re using energy. We’re not saying your energy bills and electrical bills skyrocket every time you turn something on, but a lot of energy simply goes to waste – and you’re paying for all of it.

If you didn’t have to pay another heating, cooling or electrical bill ever again, how happy would you be? Well, one day soon that could be a possibility with Zero Net Energy mandates from the California Public Utilities Commission. Zero-net energy buildings, or ZNEBs, are buildings with a total net energy consumption of zero. This means the total amount of energy used on the building on an annual basis is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.

Zero Net Energy InitiativeAccording to an article by VCA Green, the CPUC set a goal that “all new residential construction in California will be zero net energy by 2020” and “all new commercial construction in California will be zero net energy by 2030.” The statements were later revised to, “or equivalent to zero net energy” as a result of some kind of renewable energy producing system, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric or bio-mass.

“The ZNE goal is here to stay and has since been incorporated into the California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, the 2015 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR), the California Energy Action Plan, the Governor’s Clean Energy Jobs Plan, and the AB 32 Scoping Plan,” reported VCA Green in a recent release.

The need to offset building energy usage will become mandatory in the state of California on Jan. 1, 2020. This is the date the 2019 Energy Code is scheduled to be enforced by city and county building departments. While some builders are incorporating renewable energy generation in new planned construction, you will see zero net energy homes and buildings exclusively starting in less than four years! You will soon be able to use free energy from the sun to heat your home and provide electricity and all the energy your home needs, keep you and your family safe and comfortable and helping protect the environment.

This obviously has many other implications for homeowners, and we’ll take a closer look at that in our next post. If you’d like to learn more about making your current home more energy efficient or need help incorporating green energy solutions into your planned building construction, call Rick’s Energy Solutions today at 707-578-5380.