Zero Energy

Market development and leadership for zero energy buildings spotlight ultra-low energy projects that consume only as much energy as they produce from clean, renewable resources.

Getting to Zero National Forum presentations are now available.

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NBI has been leading the market development of zero energy (ZE) buildings since 2008 when we supported the development of the first ZNE Action Plan to help California meet its ambitious zero energy goals. Since then, we have been tracking the counts and location of zero energy verified and emerging projects across the United States and Canada.

ZE buildings are ultra-low energy buildings that consume only as much power as is generated onsite through renewable energy resources over the course of a year. Verified projects have been reviewed by NBI or another third-party as having achieved ZE performance. Emerging projects are those that have a stated ZE goal, but have not yet been verified with 12 months of energy use and generation data.

NBI’s Zero Energy Market Development and Leadership Program efforts include thought leadership, research, project tracking, education, communications, convening and networking, and represents one of the most extensive portfolios of expertise and resources on zero energy buildings in the world. Getting to Zero utilizes these multiple strategy areas to drive ZE buildings to scale by building market capacity to deliver, establishing early adopter networks, and supporting policies and programs that help facilitate projects.

While still a nascent market, the growth trend for ZE is steep. The count of ZE buildings across the United States and Canada has increased by 700% since 2010, and encompasses 45 million square feet of commercial building space. ZE has captured the attention of building owners, designers, policymakers, civic leaders, operators and others who see its potential to help remake the built environment into one that uses clean energy resources efficiently and reduces the substantial carbon footprint of buildings.

NewsView All

Zero Energy Schools Capture the Attention of Policymakers as Count of Projects Hits 191 Across the U.S. and Canada

News / March 13, 2019

Zero energy (ZE) buildings, those that use only as much energy as can be generated by clean, renewable resources, are on a solid growth path in the United States. In particular, ZE schools represent the largest segment in this market,...

ResourcesView All

Codes & Policy

There are no codes & policy for Zero Energy. Please see our other codes & policy below.

Zero Cities

Codes & Policy / February 13, 2019 / Energy Codes

As a growing number of cities establish ambitious goals to reduce climate pollution, they are identifying a need to achieve a zero or near-zero net carbon (ZNC) building stock by 2050. The Zero Cities project was developed in 2017 as...

Zero Energy/Carbon Codes

Codes & Policy / October 28, 2018 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

Building energy codes are playing an increasing in facilitating the move to ZE buildings. As advances in construction practices and building components and systems are proven out, communities are  strengthening the building codes so that higher levels of building efficiency...

2021 IECC (Base Codes)

Codes & Policy / October 15, 2018 / Energy Codes

Updates to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) are currently underway. NBI is drawing on deep experience in advanced energy code implementation in cities and states, as well as past success in the IECC process to achieve a 10%-15%...

Stretch Codes (Advanced Codes)

Codes & Policy / October 15, 2018 / Energy Codes

New design and process strategies can be demonstrated through a variety of advanced code strategies.  NBI builds market capacity for higher efficiency energy codes by encouraging the use of stretch codes (also referred to as reach codes). To support the...

Washington State Energy Code Roadmap to 2031

Codes & Policy / October 15, 2018 / Energy Codes

Many organizations and jurisdictions have adopted a range of building performance goals over the past decade that have significantly changed the conversation about energy codes and building energy performance.  The primary policy driver for the Washington State Energy Code increases in...

2018 IECC Code (Base Codes)

Codes & Policy / September 14, 2016

The 2018 IECC voting period ended in November of 2017. NBI demonstrated its leadership in codes by submitting proposals for the IECC that included a unified chapter for multifamily housing codes and a lighting measure to begin to tackle indoor...

Steps to Achieving Outcome-Based Energy Codes

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

Outcome-based energy codes, codes  require that a number of policy, data and administration pieces be put in place.  

Costs of Advanced Efficiency Measures in Commercial Buildings

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

NBI has identified the following four studies as a general survey of the cost impact of increasing the level of energy efficiency in commercial new construction and major retrofits. This is not an exhaustive survey of cost material available, but...


Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

The 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) includes many progressive measures that will improve the energy performance of buildings. One important provision describes the Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI), which provides a scale for measuring commercial building energy performance. zEPI...

Zero Net Energy Policies

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

Policies and programs can dramatically change the landscape for Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings. There is burgeoning market interest in ZNE, and policies and programs can foster and grow that interest through leadership, direct support, and the reduction of risks and...

Aligning Utility Programs with Local Codes (Policy)

Codes & Policy / December 22, 2015

Bringing energy codes to market often involves a comprehensive approach that starts years before a code is adopted by a local jurisdiction. NBI provides technical assistance through each stage of code development. NBI aggregates technical information from existing high performance buildings. Observed trends...

Outcome-Based Energy Codes (Advanced Codes)

Codes & Policy / December 21, 2015

Our nation’s current energy codes include structural and enforcement characteristics that limit the ability to achieve significantly more energy savings without major changes. Current energy code strategies consider only a limited number of the factors that impact building energy performance. ...

2015 IECC AND IEBC (Base Codes)

Codes & Policy / December 21, 2015

NBI and several other leading organizations proposed code revisions for a range of 2015 International Code Council codes (I-codes) including the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the International Existing Building Code (IEBC). The purpose is to help the usability...

Model Energy & Green Codes

Codes & Policy / December 19, 2015

NBI works collaboratively with a wide range of industry partners to bring model energy codes up to current market capabilities. Measures promoted by NBI include higher efficiency standards for equipment and advanced design strategies such as daylighting. Once adopted by states...

COMNET (Polcy)

Codes & Policy / December 19, 2015 / Policy

NBI manages the development of COMNET, a quality assurance initiative to standardize building energy modeling, by creating consistent baselines relative to various energy codes and standards. COMNET extends and supports existing systems for assessing and rating the energy efficiency of...

ResearchView All

There is no research for Zero Energy. Please see our other research below.

Annual Report FY 2015-2016

Report / April 16, 2019

Increasing building energy efficiency is a process that we at New Buildings Institute have been active in for nearly 20 years. Whether driven by policy mandates, a corporate resolution, or by innovative engineers and architects striving for a better end…

2019 Zero Energy Schools Watchlist

Document / February 13, 2019

The 2019 Zero Energy Schools Watchlist tracks education buildings, including K-12 schools, higher education, and general education facilities. The Watchlist documents the status of zero energy school projects across North America and raises public awareness of districts that are getting…

The GridOptimal Buildings Initiative

Paper / February 8, 2019

The role of buildings, renewable energy, and energy storage in the utility industry is changing. New near-term solutions are needed to address today’s challenges and capitalize on opportunities for market transformation. New Buildings Institute, in partnership with the U.S. Green…

Zero Energy Designed Home Certification

Document / January 25, 2019

NBI and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) have teamed up to launch an exciting new certification program: Zero Energy Designed Homes (ZED Homes). Now in a pilot phase, the program is intended to certify homes in which the HERS…

Leading in LA

Report / December 26, 2018 / Existing Buildings

Demonstrating scalable emerging energy efficient technologies for integrated façade, lighting, and plug loads. New Buildings Institute is leading a major research project funded by the California Energy Commission in response to the critical need to greatly reduce energy use in…

Northwest Zero Energy Watchlist

Document / December 19, 2018

The Northwest Zero Energy Watchlist tracks commercial and multifamily zero energy (ZE) buildings across the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The Watchlist is published to show the status of ZE projects in the region and to increase public…

Zeroing in on Schools

Paper / August 27, 2018

This paper from the 2018 ACEEE Summer Study presents completed national research about decision-making, funding and energy practices in the K-12 schools new and existing buildings market. The paper confirms the obvious, that educational outcomes and student performance are the…

2018 Getting to Zero Status Update

Report / January 23, 2018

We are pleased to share the 2018 Getting to Zero Status Update and Zero Energy Buildings List, which summarizes the growth and trends from nearly 500 certified, verified and emerging zero energy projects across the United States and Canada. In…

California K-12 and Community College Zero Net Energy Retrofit Readiness Study

Report / November 17, 2017

The California K-12 and Community College Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Retrofit Readiness Study provides recommendations to California Program Administrators and other key market actors on how to best stimulate and enable the public school market to meet California’s aggressive ZNE…

ZNE Technical Workshop October 30, 2017

Presentation / November 1, 2017

California ZNE Watchlist

Document / October 30, 2017

This resource tracks zero energy and ultra-low energy commercial buildings in California, including multi-family. Information was gathered by NBI from multiple sources that include: designers, owners, utility programs, private and public organizations, articles, e-news, research and commercial real estate professionals.…

Energy Performance of Commercial Buildings with Radiant Heating and Cooling

Report / August 10, 2017 / HVAC

This report is part of the California Energy Commission (CEC) EPIC project (EPIC-14-009), Optimizing Radiant Systems for Energy Efficiency and Comfort. The main goal of this research was to determine the building characteristics of projects with radiant heating and cooling…

ZNE Action Bulletin

Document / June 25, 2017 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

In response to requests for more information on news and events in the zero net energy (ZNE) buildings arena, New Buildings Institute (NBI), in partnership with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), developed this ZNE Action Bulletin to keep you…

Federal Preememption as a Barrier to Cost Savings and High Performance Buildings in Local Energy Codes

Paper / June 22, 2017

This white paper from New Buildings Institute (NBI) looks at the impacts of federal rules on efficiency standards for appliances, water heating and HVAC equipment and lays out possible solutions from an examination of policies from around the world. Decades-old…

List of Zero Net Energy Buildings

Report / October 13, 2016

The Zero Net Energy (ZNE) List from 2016 and 2015 are available here. We began our research on ZNE buildings in 2009. These lists include a wide-range of mainstream building types and ownership that reflect a more universal trend of…

Getting to Zero Registry, Buildings List and Database FAQ

Document / June 23, 2016

NBI maintains the most comprehensive list of zero net energy verified, emerging and ultra-low energy buildings. This Frequently Asked Questions factsheet details the kind of information NBI collects, how we classify projects and which projects make it into out Getting…

Zero Net Energy Buildings and the Grid

Paper / April 5, 2016 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

With exponential growth predicted for U.S. solar installations, substantial distributed energy supply will be available to buildings and communities across the country. When coupled with a highly efficient, intelligent building, these resources represent a tremendous asset, but also a complicated…

Zero Net Energy Building Controls: Characteristics, Energy Impacts and Lessons Learned Research Report

Report / December 19, 2015 / Controls

This commercial building research project was conducted by New Buildings Institute and led by the Continental Automated of Buildings Association (CABA). The objective was to characterize monitoring and control systems in Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings focused on three key…

Proposed Multifamily Building Section for the 2018 IECC

Document / October 16, 2015

NBI presented the first public “straw-man” of a proposed section for multifamily buildings in the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to the Department of Energy's Denver Energy Codes Stakeholder Meeting on October 13, 2015.

Washington State Energy Code Roadmap

Report / September 11, 2015

The purpose of this roadmap is to provide context for the policy and code performance goals for new buildings in Washington law and identify the mechanisms and cycles by which code provisions can evolve to meet these goals. These code…

Progress Report 2013-2014

Report / August 13, 2015

This Progress Report begins with a message from our CEO and Board President and contains key highlights from our programs, reports and news.

Getting to Outcome-Based Building Performance Event Report

Report / May 6, 2015

This report summarizes the work undertaken by a group of building industry thought leaders who gathered for a Performance Outcome Summit in August 2014 in Seattle, Washington. During a day and a half workshop, the group examined the opportunities, barriers…

2015 Getting to Zero National Forum Event Report

Report / February 25, 2015

In early February 2015, over 250 policymakers, designers, building owners, commercial real estate professionals and others gathered at the Getting to Zero National Forum in Washington D.C. The event showcased the growing momentum for zero energy buildings -- high efficiency…

Net Zero and Living Building Challenge Financial Study: A Cost Comparison Report for Buildings

Report / April 16, 2014

This study investigates the anticipated cost differential between a set of three reference buildings designed to the LEED Platinum standard and those same three buildings conceptually designed for deep energy efficiency, net zero energy, net zero water and adherence to…

Essential 7: Commercial Energy Code Voting Guidance for the 2015 IECC-Comm

Document / October 1, 2013

New Buildings Institute, Northwest Energy Codes Group, Institute for Market Transformation and Southwest Energy Efficiency Project identified seven key issues to ensure that the 2015 IECC improves energy efficiency, is easier to apply, and makes compliance and enforcement more straightforward.…

Title 24 Final FDD Language and Explanation

Document / April 24, 2013

The language included in the California Title 24-2013 Energy Standards for Non-Residential Buildings requiring certain FDD features in all new rooftop unit heating and cooling equipment of 5-ton capacity or greater starting in 2014.

High Performance Buildings Measured Performance and Key Performance Indicators

Report / April 24, 2013

This Final Research Summary Report summarizes the findings for the High Performance Buildings Measured Performance and Key Performance Indicators project within the Evidence-based Design and Operation research program.

Evidence-Based Design and Operations PIER Program: Improving the Real World Performance of Commercial Buildings

Report / April 23, 2013

This Final Project Report presents the results of the Evidence-based Design and Operations Research Program led by New Buildings Institute from 2008-2013. The program included four technical projects for commercial buildings. This work included the development of feedback tools for…

Enhanced Skylight Modeling and Validation

Report / April 23, 2013

This report details tasks, findings, and recommendations undertaken for the Enhanced Skylight Modeling and Validation project. The scope involved developing and validating computer simulation alternatives to physical measurements for producing optical daylighting system photometry.

Plug Loads

Report / March 24, 2013

Plug loads are among the biggest energy end uses in commercial office buildings. This is in part because plug loads are growing with greater information technology power demand and also because design approaches, codes and efficiency programs typically address other…

PIER Research Results

Report / March 19, 2013

Since 2000 NBI has been a part of major energy efficiency research on behalf of the California Energy Commission through the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) endeavor. NBI’s latest PIER research program, Evidence-based Design and Operations, began in 2008 and…

Utility Programs in a World of Rapid, Code-Induced Advancements in Energy Baselines

Paper / September 7, 2012

In recent years, model energy codes – which traditionally require the implementation of specific measures and strategies at the time of new commercial and residential construction – have set the stage for large increases in energy savings as states and…

Key Performance Indicators – Field Metering Study and Energy Performance Feedback

Report / July 23, 2012

This report describes an investigation by NBI of metered key performance indicators (KPI) for commercial building energy use.

White Paper on Establishing a Pathway to Outcome-Based Code Policy

Paper / May 16, 2012

For several years, NBI has been engaged in wide‐ranging conversations about code stringency increases and the degree to which current code strategies can continue to achieve aggressive efficiency goals that have been targeted. We have come to recognize that current…

A Search for Deep Energy Savings

Report / August 23, 2011

A report from NEEA's BetterBricks program and New Buildings Institute investigates* 11 energy retrofits in existing commercial buildings that, on average, resulted in energy use 50% less than the national average – many with an energy use intensity (EUI) below…

Sensitivity Analysis: Comparing the Impact of Design, Operation, and Tenant Behavior on Building Energy Performance

Report / July 27, 2011

This study compares the magnitude of energy impact that various design features, operations and tenant behaviors have on total building energy use. The findings of this study can help the building community begin to align their priorities with those building…

Green Building Performance Evaluation: Measured Results from LEED-New Construction Buildings

Report / July 7, 2011

Is LEED delivering actual energy savings? This study addresses that question with a post-occupancy assessment of 121 LEED buildings across the country. Input to the study consisted of energy bills and brief descriptions of actual building use from owners, plus…

How Accurate is Energy Modeling in the Market?

Paper / June 21, 2011

This paper presents a study of whole building energy use of various completed LEED buildings throughout the nation. The paper focuses on the relationships between predicted and actual energy performance of 90 completed LEED certified buildings. The results of the…

Outcome-Based Energy Codes for Existing Buildings, Seattle Model Energy Code Project

Report / May 16, 2011

The Preservation Green Lab (PGL), the City of Seattle, and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) are collaborating on a new energy code framework for existing and historic buildings that will pair accountability for actual performance outcomes with flexibility in how…

Using Measured Whole-Building Performance for Green Building Program Evaluation

Paper / December 28, 2010

Green building program energy efficiency strategies often use integrated design, precluding the measurement of results simply from deemed savings of specific measures. This paper describes the use of whole-building measured energy use, by month and fuel, to evaluate the achievements…

A Tool for Efficient First-Views of Commercial Building Performance Results

Paper / August 19, 2010

This paper describes a new method of benchmarking monthly whole building energy. The resulting “first view” can identify the general nature of major building inefficiencies, thus directing further investigation of specific problems. The research, funded by a grant from EPA,…

Code Calibration: Understanding What Energy Codes Can Really Achieve

Paper / July 28, 2010

This paper observes that a key problem with current energy code practice is the difficulty in determining what level of performance the codes are delivering. Current energy code practice is based on estimated energy use of a theoretical sample of…

Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings

Report / February 17, 2010

NBI has completed the broadest study to-date of measured energy performance of LEED buildings called “Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings.” Aimed at better quantifying the actual energy performance levels of green building, the study gathered whole building…

Assessment of Market-Ready Evaporative Technologies for HVAC Applications

Report / January 28, 2010

NBI completed a report on the range of evaporative, evaporative hybrid and evaporative condensing technologies for HVAC applications on behalf of Southern California Edison including: technologies, manufacturers, market applications and adoption factors surrounding evaporative approaches to cooling.

Summary and Recommendations of the Getting to 50 Summit

Report / January 21, 2010

In March 2007, New Buildings Institute (NBI) hosted and facilitated the Getting to 50 Summit. This meeting of 60 experts was initiated to develop relationships and strategies which will significantly and rapidly reduce energy use in new and renovated commercial…

California Outdoor Lighting Baseline Assessment

Report / January 21, 2010

This is the first major study to provide real data about commercial building outdoor lighting in the State of California. The report identifies statewide outdoor lighting design practices; estimates energy demand and consumption; and provides a framework for outdoor lighting…

Daylight and Retail Sales

Report / October 21, 2003

This study presents evidence that a chain retailer is experiencing higher sales in daylit stores than in similar non-daylit stores.

Windows and Offices: A Study of Office Worker Performance and the Indoor Environment

Report / October 21, 2003

This study reports on a statistical investigation into the influences indoor physical environment has on office worker performance, especially daylight and view, and secondarily ventilation and thermal comfort.

Windows and Classrooms: A Study of Student Performance and the Indoor Environment

Report / October 21, 2003

This study investigates whether daylight and other aspects of the indoor environment in elementary school student classrooms have an effect on student learning, as measured by their improvement on standardized math and reading tests over an academic year.


There are no events for Zero Energy. Please see our other events below.

Understanding the Feasibility of Getting to Zero in School Retrofits

Webinar / April 25 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

The majority of school buildings operating today can achieve zero energy performance, and schools looking to upgrade campus buildings have resources they can use to achieve low-energy goals. Join this one-hour webinar highlighting lessons learned from school retrofits that reduce…

Getting to Zero Buildings Count and Trends for 2019

Webinar / May 9 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Targets for zero energy and zero carbon outcomes are growing exponentially. Recently, Grand View Research Inc. forecast $78.8 billion of growth in the global zero energy (ZE) building market by 2025. That’s compared to $8.04 billion in 2016, according to…

Getting to Zero National Forum

Event / October 9 - October 11

This solutions-focused 2019 Getting to Zero National Forum will spotlight collaborations, policies and practices that are driving better energy and carbon outcomes for buildings. Co-hosted by New Buildings Institute and Rocky Mountain Institute, the conference will gather leading designers, owners,…

NewsView All

There is no news for Zero Energy. Please see our other news below.

New York Leading the Northeast in Net-Zero Buildings According to New Net-Zero Energy Status Report

News / April 16, 2019

A report released today, New York Getting to Net-zero Status Report, by NBI shows New York State is leading the Northeast in net-zero buildings with 27 documented ongoing and completed net-zero building projects and a total of 132 net-zero, high-performance,...

GridOptimal Initiative Changes Power Grid Interaction

News / April 12, 2019

Published by BUILDINGS: GridOptimal, a new initiative by the New Buildings Institute and the U.S. Green Building Council, aims to help buildings become better “grid citizens” by improving communications between the built environment and the power grid. A good grid...

Where We’ll Be in May

News / April 12, 2019

Mark Frankel, Technical Director, will be at Efficiency Exchange May 14 in Coeur d’Alene where he will present during Breakout Session 3 as part of the presentation Nailed it/Failed it: Turning Energy Benchmarking into Action.

Singapore Gets Its First ‘Zero Energy’ New Building

News / April 4, 2019

Published by NBC 2 News: An inventive new building designed to consume only as much energy as it produces has opened its doors in Singapore. The National University of Singapore welcomed students to the six-story facility in January. But the...

13 HVAC Money-Saving Products for 2019

News / April 4, 2019

Published by BUILDINGS: No matter what side of the country your building sits, facilities professionals seek out solutions for HVAC systems. This is why the HVAC category of BUILDINGS’ Money-Saving Products annual program receives so many submissions. 2019 is no...

Singapore Welcomes Net Zero Energy Building

News / April 4, 2019

Published by Devdiscourse: Singapore has opened the doors of its ‘net zero energy building’, that has been built from scratch. Tan Eng Chye, the university president described the new facility as a ‘living laboratory’ that would inspire future high-performance buildings...

The Case for Zero Energy Buildings

News / March 21, 2019

Published by D Magazine: According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, buildings are the primary energy consumers in the United States. So, as designers, contractors, managers, tenants, and owners of buildings, as citizens of the world, we should do...

5 Green Building Trends: A Push to Scale Net Zero

News / March 14, 2019

Published by The Kendeda Fund: “This tribe is growing,” declares Cathy Higgins, research director at the New Buildings Institute. NBI’s 2012 list of zero energy projects included 60 net zero buildings. That list counts both buildings that had been verified...

Online Tool Helps Cities Frame Energy Performance Goals

News / March 14, 2019

Published by Facility Executive: The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and New Buildings Institute (NBI) have developed a new tool, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, to help jurisdictions tackle energy...

Zero Energy Schools Capture the Attention of Policymakers as Count of Projects Hits 191 Across the U.S. and Canada

News / March 13, 2019

Zero energy (ZE) buildings, those that use only as much energy as can be generated by clean, renewable resources, are on a solid growth path in the United States. In particular, ZE schools represent the largest segment in this market,...

News & Notes: At the Heart of a Net Zero Energy Surge

News / March 3, 2019

Published by HPAC Engineering: Lost in the chaotic cacophony of our daily news cycles, the global Net Zero Energy movement for commercial buildings quietly appears to have achieved critical mass. And HVACR systems now undeniably are at the center of...

It’s Time to Update the Energy Code to the Best One Yet

News / February 14, 2019

Published by NRDC: Building energy codes set minimum energy efficiency requirements for new and renovated residential and commercial buildings, which means buildings meeting the most updated code versions use even less energy to keep the lights on and their inhabitants...

California Leads In Net-Zero Homes As Costs Drop

News / February 14, 2019

Published by CleanTechnica: Half a dozen California cities are hosting enough net-zero homes to place the state in first place nationally among other states like Arizona where the net-zero trend is catching on rapidly, both among legislators and among leading...

NBI Newsletter

News / January 10, 2019

Learn about zEPI Jurisdictional Scores, how Ithaca leads in New York, the 2019 Getting to Zero Forum, and more.

Getting to Zero—Taking Action on Carbon

News / December 10, 2018

Published in Laboratory Equipment: Architecture 2030 estimates an addition of 2.5 trillion square feet of buildings to the planet by 2060, equivalent to building another New York City every 34 days—heightening the sense of urgency for designers to focus on...

“GridOptimal” Buildings Can Smooth Transition to Renewables

News / November 5, 2018

Published by BuildingGreen: Getting a solar array on your project might seem like a huge triumph, but there could be a downside. Too much “distributed generation” (grid-connected power generation coming from individual buildings) can disrupt how the electrical grid works,...

Radiating Efficiency

News / November 4, 2018

Published by Net Zero Buildings (page 12): Because of the drive for optimized energy efficiency, design teams need to look at alternative HVAC methods in order to meet energy goals. A recent NBI report on radiant heating and cooling in...

Zero Net Energy Awards For California Schools

News / October 31, 2018

Published by Facility Executive: Five exemplary individuals, school districts, and school projects have been honored with with ZNE School Leadership Awards for innovation and leadership in driving a new zero net energy (ZNE) standard for school environments in California. ZNE...

Cathy Higgins recognized as a 2018 Women of Vision Honoree

News / October 23, 2018

Published in the Daily Journal of Commerce: Cathy Higgins, Research Director, was recently recognized as a 2018 Women of Vision honoree by the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce. The annual Women of Vision awards recognize women in the Portland, Oregon,...

RESTalk Interview with Eric Makela

News / October 22, 2018

Eric Makela, Associate Director, takes us on a journey through energy codes in a RESTalk interview. Learn how HERS raters influence the development of the IECC and more. Eric is the perfect tour guide, as he has spent the last...

Aiming For Zero Energy In Existing Buildings

News / October 15, 2018

Published by Facility Executive and written by Senior Project Manager, Alexi Miller: As the extreme weather impacts of a changing climate become more urgent, cities and states are racing to put in place strategies that will reduce carbon emissions, including...

NBI Newsletter

News / September 21, 2018

Learn about smart building-to-grid integration, new resources, our Board of Directors, zero energy homes, how better buildings can limit climate change, Proposition 39 ZNE Schools Leadership Awards and more.

Tips to Move Your Building Toward Net Zero

News / September 20, 2018

Published in BUILDINGS: Net zero buildings are becoming the standard for the future. In late August 2018, mayors from 19 cities around the world signed the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. The declaration...

Zeroing In

News / September 19, 2018

Published by Civil Engineering: Across the United States, primary and secondary school buildings are leading the way in the zero-energy movement, in which structures are designed to generate at least as much energy as they use. They tend to be...

What Will It Take to Make Buildings Carbon Neutral?

News / September 14, 2018

Published by CityLab: Last month, 19 cities signed a declaration to make all new buildings carbon neutral by 2030. So what happens next? If cities are going to curb the rise of global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius,...

What Are Zero-Energy Buildings?

News / September 7, 2018

Produced by Yale Climate Connections: These ultra-low-energy buildings might be popping up in your neighborhood soon. Listen to this short interview with Ralph DiNola, CEO.

2018 ACEEE Summer Study Papers and Posters

News / August 27, 2018

NBI staff presented at the 2018 ACEEE Summer Study in several panels, including “Codes and Standards”, “Net Zero: Moving Beyond 1%”, and “Poster Display Presentations”. Their papers and posters are available here: Jim Edelson, Director of Codes & Policy, presented Taking...

Planning Under Way for First Sustainable Building Week

News / August 24, 2018

Published in the Daily Journal of Commerce: The inaugural Sustainable Building Week begins October 8 and will include panel discussions, lectures, building tours, design slams (challenges), open houses and more in Portland. All of this is to promote green building...

Net Zero Energy Buildings: The Future of Facilities

News / August 2, 2018

Published by Net zero energy may seem out of reach for many building owners and managers, but it’s no longer a niche trend. Whether it’s ground-up construction or an update to an existing building, there are countless sustainability measures...

ZNE School Awards Seek to Honor California Innovation and Leadership in Zero Net Energy K-12 Schools and Community Colleges

News / August 1, 2018

With 62 zero net energy (ZNE) schools operating or planned, California is leading in the nation in driving K-12 schools and community colleges to ZNE performance. These projects represent high performance buildings that combine energy efficiency and renewable resources to...

Show Me the Money: The Business Opportunity of Grid-Interactive Buildings

News / July 25, 2018

Published by GreenBiz: Utilities, grid operators, homeowners, and private- and public-sector building owners and operators are all buzzing about buildings that dynamically interact with the electric grid. They present an exciting opportunity to go beyond net-zero energy and provide valuable...

New Net-Zero Waste Management Centre Constructed in Ontario’s Oxford County

News / July 13, 2018

Published in Daily Commercial News: The new Waste Management and Education Centre in Oxford County, Ont. is expected to receive a Zero Net Energy certification from the New Buildings Institute (NBI). The building, which was constructed on a landfill site...

Oxford County Opens Net-Zero Energy Waste Management & Education Centre, Showcases Commitment to 100% Renewable Energy

News / July 5, 2018

Published by Exchange Magazine: Gateman-Milloy celebrated the opening of a modern new facility with its client Oxford County last week. The new building, located at 384060 Salford Rd., Salford, Ontario, was designed and built to meet aggressive energy efficiency and...

How to Attain Net Zero Energy for Large-Scale Facilities

News / July 3, 2018

Published in HC&O News: Conversations — and aspirations — around high-performing buildings have evolved quickly. Ten years ago, we dreamed of achieving LEED certification on high energy building types such as hospitals and labs. Net zero energy buildings were a...

Solar Panels Power New Schools—and New Ways of Learning

News / June 6, 2018

Published by WIRED: Buildings that make at least as much energy as they use are called “net-zero” (and “net positive” if they make more than they need). And nationwide, K-12 schools are leading a fledgling “net-zero” building boom that has...

Schools Lead the Way to Zero-Energy Buildings, and Use Them for Student Learning

News / June 6, 2018

Published by The Hechinger Report: Ultra-green schools are going up in every sort of district – urban and rural, affluent and lower income, blue state and red state. According to a March 2018 NBI report, there are 89 verified or...

Zero-Net-Energy Benefits in Commercial Construction

News / May 24, 2018

Published in New Horizon Construction Services Blog: The trend towards increasing energy efficiency in commercial buildings has resulted in a substantial reduction of carbon emissions, a major contributor of air pollution cities nationwide. The number of ZNE buildings increased by...

APS to Get Some Cash Back Due to Energy-Efficient School

News / May 22, 2018

Published by Sun Gazette Newspapers: Arlington School officials are hoping to use a statewide energy pilot program to get back some cash from excess power generated at Discovery Elementary School. Discovery Elementary opened at the start of the 2015-16 season...

Zero Dark 2018: A Current Look at California’s Net-Zero Building Goal of 2020

News / May 18, 2018

Published by GreenBiz: As the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) implements the California Long-Term Energy Efficiency Strategy Plan, a foundational goal is ensuring all new residential buildings be Zero Net Energy (ZNE) by 2020 and all new commercial buildings be...

Largest Zero-Energy Office Building in the Southeast U.S. Planned in Raleigh

News / May 10, 2018

Published by The Energy Fix: A proposed 10-story office building in Raleigh, North Carolina is set to become the largest zero-energy structure in the Southeast U.S. and could boost construction of green high-rises for commercial tenants throughout the region. City...

Few Arizona Buildings Certified as ‘Net Zero,’ Extreme Climate Poses Challenges

News / May 4, 2018

From Cronkrite News (Arizona PBS): The International Living Future Institute, a nonprofit that challenges communities to build sustainable environments, has certified DPR Construction’s Phoenix headquarters as a net zero energy building, the first building in Arizona to earn the distinction...

Architecture 2030 Launches ‘Zero Code’ Standard

News / April 27, 2018

Published in the Architectural Record: In mid-April, Architecture 2030, a non-profit organization that aims to make the building sector part of the solution for global warming, released a “Zero Code”—guidelines support the creation of zero net carbon buildings by combining...

Making Multi Tenant Net Zero Work in Colorado

News / April 9, 2018

Published by Urban Land: A 100,000-square-foot (9,300 sq m) project in an emerging transit district in Boulder, Colorado, is making the business case for net-zero-energy (NZE) multi tenant leased office buildings. The case includes lower operating costs, higher profits, reduced...

GreenBiz 350 Podcast, Episode 119

News / April 6, 2018

Published in GreenBiz: According to a new report by the industry association New Buildings Institute (NBI), there are nearly 500 verified and emerging zero-energy (ZE) buildings across the United States and Canada — a massive 700 percent increase since the...

Multi Tenant Zero Energy Leases Support ZE and Carbon Reduction

News / April 2, 2018

Published by Colorado Real Estate Journal: If you want to know where Colorado is headed, look no further than its commercial buildings. Colorado currently ranks fourth on the list of 2018 NZE emerging and verified projects published by New Buildings...

Alta Energy Completes Zero Energy Retrofit of Amenities Building at Santa Clara Office Park

News / March 22, 2018

Published by Cision: Alta Energy, a sustainable energy advisory and procurement services provider, announced the completion of a 1.4 MW solar parking canopy system at the Towers at Great America in Santa Clara, California, a Class A office property owned...

Report Shows How LEED Certification Supports Net Zero Energy

News / March 21, 2018

Published by Building Design + Construction: A report by the New Buildings Institute highlights where LEED certification aids in the goal of achieving net zero energy. “Getting to Zero Status Update and List of Zero Energy (“ZE”) Projects for 2018”...

Huge Growth in Net-Zero Energy Buildings

News / March 15, 2018

Published by FacilitiesNet: For many in the buildings industry, net-zero energy still represents more a pie-in-the-sky idea than a tangible reality. But, though they still represent a very small percentage of buildings, growing evidence suggests that they’re becoming more and...

Zero-Energy Buildings See Big Boost

News / March 14, 2018

Published by Construction Dive: Sixty-seven commercial buildings were verified as net energy in the U.S. and Canada in 2017, with another 415 in construction or in the evaluation process, according to a New Buildings Institute study titled “2018 Getting to...

Advancing Net Zero Plan Calls for 100 Percent Net Zero Buildings

News / March 13, 2018

Published in the Kendeda Living Building Chronicle: A graphic from the World Green Building Council outlines the organization’s ambitious drive to advance net zero in very simple terms. With a goal that 100 percent of all buildings operate at net...

Webinar: Getting to Zero Energy

News / March 8, 2018

Published in Green Architecture & Building Report: In case you missed New Building Institute’s webinar on Nothing Beats Zero – Updates on the Trends and Projects That Are Getting to Zero Energy, you can now view it online.

5 Key Trends Behind Zero Energy Buildings

News / March 6, 2018

Published by GreenBiz: The last two years have been good for zero energy buildings, according to our latest list of certified and emerging zero energy buildings by the New Buildings Institute. This list, published every two years, inventories projects across...

U.S., Canada Home To Nearly 500 Zero Energy Buildings

News / March 6, 2018

Published by Business Facilities: Nearly 500 verified and emerging zero energy buildings have been built across the United States and Canada—a 700 percent increase since the New Buildings Institute (NBI) began tracking projects in 2012. Zero energy buildings are ultra-low...

The Push and Pull of Building Performance

News / March 1, 2018

Published by Metal Architecture: Energy codes are often thought of as bringing up the rear, preventing the worst from happening, but not as drivers of innovation. Randy Croxton, FAIA is famously quoted for his astute observation, “Building to code means...

Stretch Codes Emerge as a High Impact Strategy for Energy Savings

News / February 26, 2018

Published by BuildingEnergy Magazine: For decades, local energy codes have defined the least efficient structure that could be legally built. Although codes have become stricter, they still fall short of industry experts’ recommendations toward zero-net energy. For projects that cannot...

Carlson Studio Architecture and Sarasota Audubon Achieve Zero Net Energy

News / February 26, 2018

Published by Cision: The design for Sarasota’s Audubon Nature Center has earned Zero Net Energy Building Certification from the New Buildings Institute (NBI). The announcement was released this week by Michael Carlson, principal of Carlson Studio Architecture. The project was...

Private Sector Investments Contribute to Over 700 Percent Growth in Zero Energy Buildings Market Since 2012

News / February 26, 2018

New Buildings Institute’s (NBI) 2018 zero energy buildings list includes nearly 500 verified and emerging zero energy (ZE) buildings across the United States and Canada—a 700 percent increase since NBI began tracking projects in 2012, with private sector investment now...

Efficiency of Buildings Increase, with a Focus on Facility Managers

News / February 21, 2018

Published by MultiBriefs: In 2010, the U.S. building sector generated 45 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the country — that’s right, nearly half of all carbon emissions came from the places Americans live, shop and work in every...

Nearly 50 Percent More Zero Energy Buildings Underway in 2017

News / February 8, 2018

Published in the Kendeda Living Building Chronicle: Zero energy commercial buildings appear to be accelerating their steep ascent. Sixty-seven of them have now been “verified” in the U.S. and Canada, according to a recent report from the New Buildings Institute....

How Can GSA Protect Its Federal Building Portfolio Against Natural Disaster Trends

News / February 6, 2018

Published in Federal News Radio: Looking back on a year of severe hurricanes and wildfires, the General Services Administration wants to know how it can best prepare its federal building portfolio against natural disaster trends. Looking ahead, GSA is also...

2018 State of the Industry

News / February 1, 2018

Every year, Metal Construction News asks industry experts to present their ideas on where the industry will go in the next few years. This year, experts look at a growing economy that still sometimes sputters, code regulations that need constant...

Thoughts on the Future of the Zero Energy Market

News / January 5, 2018

Published by BuildingGreen: The net-zero-energy building market has come a long way since the first commercial projects to target net zero were constructed nearly two decades ago. Today, the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has certified 64 projects, with another...

A New Metric for Tracking Net-Zero Energy Codes

News / December 15, 2017

Published in Green Energy Times (pages 26 & 27): ACEEE’s 2017 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard was released in late September with Massachusetts leading based on six categories including utility programs, transportation, building energy codes, combined heat and power, state initiative...

Districts, Projects, Individuals Honored For Driving ZNE in New and Existing School Projects in California

News / November 29, 2017

Six exemplary individuals, design teams and school districts were honored with ZNE School Leadership Awards Tuesday evening for their innovation and leadership in driving a new zero net energy (ZNE) standard for school environments. ZNE buildings represent high performance buildings that...

NBI Stretch Code a Tool for Accelerating Efficiency Standards

News / November 15, 2017

Published in Building Design + Construction: The 20% Stretch Code, a new set of standards developed by New Buildings Institute (NBI), offers a tool for accelerating the use of more energy efficient designs in new buildings.

Net Zero Energy 189-Acre Development Planned for Illinois

News / November 13, 2017

Published in Energy Manager Today: Burr Ridge, Illinois-based real estate company Hawthorne is currently planning a net zero energy housing and commercial development for Lockport, Illinois. The project, located about 30 miles southwest of Chicago, calls for 500 homes as...

Could Stretch Codes Supercharge the Green Building Marketplace

News / November 10, 2017

Published in GreenBiz: Stretch codes are a promising solution that jurisdictions can use to drive better energy performance in the built environment and set a long-term vision for efficiency stringency in buildings further into the future. NBI released a model...

See How Local Building Codes Can Update Their Energy Requirements to be More Performance-Oriented, and How FMs May Need to Help Prove Compliance

News / November 7, 2017

Published in FMLink: A number of cities and states across the United States have begun to recognize that the current code-based mechanisms in place do not provide the means to help them achieve their energy performance goals for buildings, according...

Oregon Greens Cheer Brown’s Orders on Energy Efficient Buildings, Electric Vehicles

News / November 7, 2017

Published in Portland Business Journal: Governor Kate Brown issued executive orders intending to encourage more energy efficient buildings and electric vehicle adoption. An array of green groups that includes New Buildings Institute cheered the moves and used the occasion to...

New Stretch Code Measures Help Cities & States Fast-Track Building Energy Savings

News / November 6, 2017

With increasing pressure to deliver on energy and climate action goals, cities and states are turning to more stringent building energy codes as an effective strategy to increase building energy efficiency and accelerate progress on outcomes. By adopting forward-looking stretch...

NIBS, NBI Issue Guidance To Help Cities Achieve Energy Goals

News / November 1, 2017

Published in Facility Executive: New guidance document provides jurisdictions with a new approach to shift the focus towards buildings’ actual, measurable energy results.

NIBS, NBI Issue Guidance to Help Jurisdictions Achieve Energy Goals

News / November 1, 2017

Outcome-Based Path for Codes Focuses on Results, Looks at Building’s Actual Performance A number of cities and states across the United States have begun to recognize that the current code-based mechanisms in place do not provide the means to help...

NBI Unveils New Multifamily Energy Guide

News / October 30, 2017

Published in EC&M: Multifamily buildings offer a largely untapped opportunity for improving energy efficiency, according to a recent report from the New Buildings Institute (NBI). Despite tremendous potential for savings, the organization explains why the multifamily market is hard to...

The Federal Preemption Bind on Local Energy Policy

News / October 23, 2017

Published in Construction Executive: When it comes to energy efficiency in buildings, rapid technological advances are being undermined by outdated regulations. Decades-old federal laws currently prohibit states from setting energy standards for some of the most modern appliances, including heating...

CAISO Expands Attendee Roster for Stakeholder Symposium

News / October 22, 2017

The rapidly changing energy landscape in the Western U.S. was the recurring theme at CAISO’s 2017 Stakeholder Symposium. About 1,000 attendees from the industry, its disruptors and other counterparts gathered at the Sacramento Convention Center. To bring new voices into...

What It Takes to Go Net-Zero

News / October 6, 2017

Published in Architect: Architects share their experiences in net-zero building, from persuading uncertain clients to dealing with extreme weather. At this point, the technology exists for buildings to produce all the energy they need—and that needs to be the norm....

Report Eyes Michigan’s Sustainability Future

News / October 2, 2017

Published in Grand Rapids Business Journal: Allison Waske Sutter, sustainability manager for the city of Grand Rapids, laid out the city’s ambitious goals to run Grand Rapids on 100 percent renewable. Sutter spoke on the key initiatives the city will...

World Green Building Week and the Campaign for Net Zero Buildings

News / September 26, 2017

Published in The Fifth Estate: During World Green Building Week, Green Building Councils from across the world campaigned for all buildings to be “net zero” by 2050. The intention is to promote the aspirations published in a report from earlier...

We need net-zero buildings by 2050

News / September 16, 2017

Published in GreenBiz: A global banking giant announced a major drive to reduce the energy use in its portfolio of over 5,500 properties in 60 countries and a commitment to source 100 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020....

Dreaming the Future: How Zero Energy Design Can Transform the School Environment

News / September 15, 2017

In September’s Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly, Project Analyst Reilly Loveland’s article begins by asking the question “…what if buildings themselves became a tool to enhance school learning”. She goes on to explain how Zero Energy (ZE) schools are doing just...

HVAC Industry’s Opportunity in Net-Zero Energy Market is Growing

News / September 1, 2017

Published in snips: With a rising deluge of buzzwords and phrases ranging from sustainability and climate change to energy efficiency and green building seeping into nearly all industries, it’s hard to ignore HVAC’s role in lessening the environmental impact of...

Implications of Developments in National Model Codes for Historic Preservation

News / September 1, 2017

Published in the Alliance Review, a Quarterly Journal of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions: Sean Denniston, Senior Project Manager, provides an overview of the impact of the model energy code on historic resources. Many historic buildings are inherently energy...

Zero is the Hero: Zero Net Energy Buildings Reach New Communities, Promising Savings, and Renewable Energy

News / August 31, 2017

Published by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance: As energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies continue to improve both functionally and economically, Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings are spreading in communities around the country. The energy savings and environmental benefits of...

Number of Zero-Net Energy Buildings Surges

News / August 15, 2017

Published in Energy Manager Today: The number of zero-net energy (ZNE) commercial buildings in the United States doubled between 2014 and 2017, according to The growth is due primarily to industry leadership, technology market evolution, construction workforce development, policies,...

From Fire to Net Positive

News / August 15, 2017

Published in the Living Building Chronicle: “It’s really been since about 2000 that both the technology and know-how allowed you to think about [net zero energy buildings] on a meaningful scale,” says Vermont architect Bill Maclay. By last fall, New...

Buildings as Power Plants: Net-positive Energy on the Horizon

News / August 11, 2017

Published in Electrical Contractor Magazine: Today, some buildings can produce more energy than they use. The small step from net-zero to net-positive could present a new world for buildings, public utilities and city planners. New Buildings Institute biannually compiles a...

Going Green? Not So Fast, According to Federal Rule Structure

News / June 29, 2017

Published in Snips Magazine Blog: Ralph DiNola, CEO of New Buildings Institute, recently told me about a decades-old bump in the road: federal preemption rules. The organization outlined this setback in its recent white paper, “Federal Preemption as a Barrier to...

Local Energy Codes Hindered by Preemption Rules

News / June 22, 2017

White paper examines how the federal rule structure for appliances and HVAC equipment raise costs and limit improved energy performance Portland, OR—A white paper released today by New Buildings Institute (NBI) finds that federal preemption rules present a major barrier...

Department of Energy helps Missoula hone in on carbon-cutting goals

News / June 14, 2017

Technical support offered by the U.S. Department of Energy and several other organizations could help the city of Missoula achieve the goals of its climate plan, becoming carbon neutral by its self-imposed deadline of 2025. NBI as part of a...

Net Zero Energy is Dead, Long Live Zero Energy

News / June 2, 2017

Published by the Living Building Chronicle: The International Living Future Institute’s reboot of its Net Zero Energy program is more than a name change. It establishes NZE’s replacement — Zero Energy (ZE) Building Certification — as the standard for an...

International Living Future Institute and New Buildings Institute Partner to Accelerate the Zero Energy Movement

News / May 18, 2017

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and New Buildings Institute (NBI) today announced a partnership that will streamline and strengthen the tracking and certification of zero energy (ZE) buildings in order to drive broader market adoption, codification and standardization of...

A Wave of Net Zero Energy Schools Crests in the South

News / April 11, 2017

Published by the Kendeda Fund: According to the New Buildings Institute, four of the five states with the most net zero energy schools underway in 2016 were in the South — even though high humidity, low power rates, and few...

A New Standard for Net-Zero Leases in Boulder

News / April 11, 2017

Published by GreenBiz: In Boulder, CO a new net-zero energy (NZE) development project consists of two commercial buildings totaling roughly 100,000 square feet of professional office space and boasting a restaurant, coffee shop and community gathering flex space — all...

Net Zero Energy Buildings Grow 74% Since 2015

News / March 30, 2017

Published in BUILDINGS:  The 332 buildings verified as or on their way to achieving net zero energy certification represent a 74% increase since the last count in late 2015, according to a report by the New Buildings Institute (NBI). By...

The Winding Path to Net Zero

News / March 29, 2017

As environmentally friendly features become a mainstay of commercial property, learn what it takes to excel at selling and leasing green space in this article by Realtor Magazine. Cathy Higgins, Research Director, was interviewed for the article. “Cities are very...

Forecasting Energy Policy in 2017: Energy Efficiency Still a Major Opportunity for FMs

News / March 23, 2017

Jim Edelson, Director of Codes and Policy, is quoted in this article from facilitiesnet. This is the first of a four-part cover story, looking at how the current administration policy may affect energy policy for the road ahead. Moves in federal...

Moving Faster Toward Zero Net Energy

News / February 17, 2017

Published by USGBC: In 2017, USGBC is setting our expectations to zero—zero net energy. According to a report released last quarter by the New Buildings Institute (NBI), there are currently 332 buildings that have been either verified as or are...

Oregonians Will Help Shape Critical New Cannabis Environmental Standards

News / January 26, 2017

Posted in the Portland Business Journal: The Resource Innovation Institute wants to ensure cannabis growers and others operate sustainably. Several representatives of well-known groups have landed on a key committee, the Technical Advisory Council, that will promote energy and water...

Exponential Growth in Net Zero Energy Buildings Predicted for the Next Two Decades

News / January 5, 2017

Published by Building Design + Construction: The global market for products and services related to achieving net zero energy in residential and commercial construction and renovation is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 44.5% between 2014...

Districts, Projects, Individuals Honored for Driving ZNE in New and Existing Projects

News / November 7, 2016

California is leading the nation in the transformation of K-12 schools and community colleges to zero net energy (ZNE) performance. To honor early innovation and leadership in this market, nine inaugural ZNE School Leadership Awards were given on behalf of...

New award recognizes California leadership in zero net energy schools

News / November 7, 2016 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

Districts, projects, individuals honored for driving ZNE in new and existing projects California is leading the nation in the transformation of K-12 schools and community colleges to zero net energy (ZNE) performance. To honor early innovation and leadership in this...

Smartglass International’s retrofit project with SPD-SmartGlass will protect priceless paintings at the University of Edinburgh and increases energy efficiency in buildings

News / September 23, 2016

Research Frontiers licensee Smartglass International addresses the long term savings that commercial organizations can realize when they install SPD-SmartGlass in their buildings. From 2016-2023, it is estimated that $960 billion will be invested to make existing buildings more environmentally friendly....

Zero-Net-Energy Schools

News / August 20, 2016

When it comes to zero-net-energy (ZNE) buildings, children are leading the way. In one year, a ZNE building generates with its own renewable energy the equivalent energy it consumes in that year. Typically, some months a ZNE building is generating...

Energy Department awards nearly $1.3 million to encourage data-driven local energy planning; releases research results

News / August 12, 2016 / Benchmarking & Feedback

In support of cities’ efforts to reduce energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of energy efficiency technologies, the Energy Department today selected three projects to help cities integrate energy analysis and data into their strategic decision...

Zero Net Energy Initiatives Taking Root

News / August 11, 2016 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

This article digs into California’s successes with zero energy buildings and overall increases in ZEBs nationwide.

Driving Energy Efficiency in Small- and Medium-Size Buildings

News / August 10, 2016 / Existing Buildings

Given the number of small and medium commercial buildings, there is urgency to increase energy efficiency in this sector. Luckily, advancing technology promises to help these buildings enjoy the savings that a retrofit can attain.

How net-zero buildings impact the grid

News / August 9, 2016 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

This article from GreenBiz discusses how zero energy buildings will interact with the electrical grid in the future. The piece highlights a recent paper by NBI’s Alexi Miller and Jim Edelson.

CPUC, Energy Commission, and NBI Announce Milestone Toward Achieving Statewide Zero Net Energy Goal

News / August 3, 2016

The California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) today announced that California continues the march toward its zero net energy (ZNE) goals, with 108 new and renovated commercial buildings that have been either verified...

The State of Technology: Outcome-Based Energy Codes and zEPI

News / August 1, 2016 / Energy Codes

This article focuses on two innovations in development over the last decade in energy codes: outcome-based energy codes and zEPI. It also features a graphic from New Buildings Institute’s “Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings”, which highlights how...

NBI Seeks North America’s Most Advanced Zero Energy and Low-Energy Buildings

News / July 20, 2016

High performance commercial Projects to be showcased at Getting to Zero Forum Wanted: North America’s most advanced commercial buildings! New Buildings Institute (NBI) is initiating its annual review of advanced energy efficiency commercial projects including zero energy, emerging and ultra-low energy...

DOE Awards $3.7 Million to Spur Investment in Commercial Energy Code Compliance

News / June 29, 2016

The Building Technologies Office has selected three projects to receive a total of $3.7 million to study the effects of improving the implementation of commercial building energy codes. New Buildings Institure is responsible for one of these projects. NBI will...

Largest U.S. Net Zero Energy Retrofit a Living Lab

News / June 15, 2016

The nation’s largest net zero plus commercial building retrofit, the Net Zero Plus Electric Training Institute (NZP-ETI), has been completed in Los Angeles. The 144,000-square-foot demonstration center and living laboratory on advanced and emerging clean energy technologies showcases the future...

Buildings Can Be Much Greener

News / April 12, 2016

“Buildings Can Be Much Greener”, a recent article discussing the potential for zero net energy (ZNE) buildings, starts on p. 6 of April’s California Buildings News. Only a tiny fraction of California buildings produce all the energy they need to...

Institute Submits Outcome-Based Pathway for Inclusion in the 2018 IECC

News / April 5, 2016 / Energy Codes

Building on a multi-year, industry-wide effort to include an outcome-based pathway for energy compliance into the 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC), the National Institute of Building Sciences has introduced a similar proposal to be considered for inclusion in the...

USGBC approves New Construction Guide for LEED Pilot Credit Library

News / February 10, 2016

(Portland, Ore.) Feb. 11, 2016 – The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has approved the addition of New Buildings Institute’s (NBI) New Construction® New Construction Guide as a LEED Pilot Alternative Compliance Path (ACP). By following the prescriptive path in...

New CABA report highlights crucial role of controls for achieving and maintaining zero net energy buildings

News / November 18, 2015

November 18, 2015—Monitoring and control systems are at the nexus of buildings and successful zero net energy (ZNE) performance, according to a new study released today from the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA). The study, “Zero Net Energy Building Controls:...

What will energy codes look like in 2020?

News / October 29, 2015

Green building standards are influencing residential energy code, and vice versa. In this article published by Propane Jim Edelson, director of codes and policy at NBI, stated “It is likely that there will be a time in the next few...

The Retrofit Savings Estimator

News / October 6, 2015

Building owners considering an energy-efficiency upgrade now have a new tool to help them weigh their options and choose strategies that will optimize energy savings or target the biggest opportunities among a portfolio of buildings. NBI has released a beta...

Reliable Retrofit Analysis Anyone Can Do

News / September 29, 2015

As we advance toward a more energy-efficient built environment, building owners are seeking guidance on how to maximize the energy performance of their buildings. Many owners are concerned about the cost and effectiveness of the tools necessary to achieve this...

Danfoss’ Galyen: Incentives Will Boost Building Technology Development

News / September 24, 2015

On September 17, John Galyen, president, Danfoss North America, addressed the importance of taking a holistic approach to improving the efficiency of the U.S. commercial building stock as part of a broad objective to double energy productivity. Galyen was joined...

DOE Releases Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings, Campuses, and Communities

News / September 18, 2015

“NIBS and USDOE have created a set of clear and concise definitions for zero energy buildings that will help to narrow the broad array of terminology currently used in the industry,” said Ralph DiNola, CEO of New Buildings Institute. After...

Four Reasons Building Performance Is Worse Than Predicted

News / September 1, 2015

It’s common for energy use to far exceed what models predict. Should outcome-based measures be the new standard? This article published by Environmental Business News provides highlights from the Getting to Outcome-Based Performance Summit report written by the National Institute for...

Homes Make as Much Energy as They Use

News / September 1, 2015

Will zero-net-energy homes be the wave of the future? Scientific American published this article about ZNE homes and buildings. Across the United States, but especially in California, ZNE residential and commercial buildings are growing in number. The article references NBI...

Why a leading building energy group relocated from Washington to Portland

News / August 11, 2015

After operating for 18 years in Vancouver, Washington, White Salmon, Washington and Hood River, New Buildings Institute has relocated to the Rose City. Portland Business Journal caught up with Ralph DiNola, CEO, to find out more about the move and upcoming...

These Small Business Segments Make Super Customers

News / July 17, 2015

In 2013, Preservation Green Lab (PGL) and the New Buildings Institute (NBI) reported on seven small building segments with high energy savings potential: food service, main street buildings, freestanding offices, strip malls, schools, freestanding retail and lodging. This inspired Diana...

The home that pays its own utility bill (and then some)

News / July 17, 2015

A movement to develop homes that produce more energy than they use is beginning to gain ground. This article from Christian Science Monitor quotes NBI’s Communications Director. (7/16/2015)

Tool to Assess Value of Building Retrofits

News / July 16, 2015 reported that a new web application can identify energy savings opportunities. The Retrofit Savings Estimator, created by NBI, uses general factors such as size, heating and cooling types, and building operation schedules as well as more technical details to...

Net-Zero Cities Aren’t Possible, You Say? Some Are Underway Today

News / July 16, 2015

From an environmental perspective, cities are already responsible for the majority of the planet’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. To meaningfully battle climate change and stay within our carbon budget, getting things right at the urban scale is critical....

Nancy Jenkins of Southern California Edison Joins NBI Board

News / June 17, 2015

June 17, 2015—New Buildings Institute (NBI) has announced the addition of Nancy Jenkins, manager of DSM Strategy and Compliance at Southern California Edison (SCE), as the newest member of the organization’s Board of Directors. Ms. Jenkins is currently responsible for...

New Construction Guide endorsed by Architecture 2030 to meet the 2030 Challenge

News / June 16, 2015

The New Construction Guide has also been incorporated as the prescriptive path to comply with the energy prerequisites for both USGBC’s LEED v4 and the Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools standard. The guide has also been adopted as the...

Getting to Zero: What’s in Store for Ultra-Efficient Buildings

News / June 2, 2015

It’s rare to be able to look 20 years down the road and see what’s coming next. Current trends in zero-energy buildings offer one of those opportunities, and with a potentially large payoff. This article was written by Ralph DiNola,...

New Construction Guide endorsed by Architecture 2030 to meet the 2030 Challenge

News / June 1, 2015

New Buildings Institute (NBI) and Architecture 2030 are excited to announce that Architecture 2030 has endorsed a prescriptive path to meet the current 2030 Challenge goal based on NBI’s New Construction® New Construction Guide. With this path, design teams now...

Experts Examine Future of Energy Performance

News / May 27, 2015

Several recent news articles have referenced the Getting to Outcome-Based Performance report published by the National Institute of Building Sciences and NBI. The report examines opportunities, barriers, and next steps associated with the commercial building industry’s transition from design-phase estimates...

California “ZNE Watchlist” released, the first state tracking list for zero energy buildings

News / May 12, 2015

May 14, 2015—A new resource for tracking progress toward zero net energy (ZNE) buildings in California is now available from New Buildings Institute (NBI). ZNE buildings are extremely energy efficient, through clean, renewable resources to generate as much energy each...

3 Chicago Buildings That Use No Energy Whatsoever

News / May 11, 2015

Bisnow reported that New Buildings Institute recently came out with its latest list of Verified Zero Energy Buildings, and Chicago had a favorable showing, contributing three to the ranks. (5/7/2015)

Industry experts plan for future focused on commercial building performance outcomes, increased attention to operations

News / May 6, 2015

Determining a building’s energy efficiency based solely on using predictive energy models and specifying certain design and construction attributes may be a thing of the past by the time the next generation of architects and engineers join the workforce. Communities...

Can the Bullitt Center prove that it pays for buildings to go ‘deep green’?

News / April 27, 2015

A Seattle office building that generates its own electricity, collects its own water and composts all human waste from its restrooms has been designated an ultra-sustainable ‘living building’. Ralph DiNola, CEO of NBI, was quoted in an article published in...

Construction Corner: The push for net-zero by 2050

News / March 5, 2015

McDonald’s Corp. is examining the technical and financial feasibility of building net-zero energy restaurants. Rocky Mountain Industry along with Fisher-Nickel Inc., a kitchen-equipment technology consultant, and NBI completed a study. The study modeled energy use for new, stand-alone restaurants in...

Majority of 2015 ZNE Verified Buildings are LEED Projects

News / February 17, 2015

NBI released their second annual list of buildings in the U.S. and Canada with verified zero net energy use (ZNE). The Green Building Information Gateway reported that the list is growing and of the 39 verified energy-neutral-verified buildings, 20 of...

Getting to Zero National Forum kicks off with Architecture 2030’s Ed Mazria sharing vision for zero energy buildings

News / February 5, 2015

The 2015 Getting to Zero National Forum officially opened in Washington, D.C with keynote speaker Ed Mazria, founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, calling for building and energy industry professionals to make zero energy buildings a broad-scale reality in the...

McDonald’s Study Explores Idea of a Net Zero Energy Quick Service Restaurant

News / February 3, 2015

A study prepared by Rocky Mountain Institute, Fisher Nickel, Inc. and New Buildings Institute examines the technical and financial feasibility of achieving new net zero energy restaurants in three cities: Chicago, Orlando, and Washington, DC. RealEstateRama reported that through a...

McDonald’s Study Explores Idea of a Net Zero Energy Quick Service Restaurant

News / January 30, 2015

January 30, 2015–A study prepared by Rocky Mountain Institute, Fisher Nickel, Inc. and New Buildings Institute examines the technical and financial feasibility of achieving new net zero energy restaurants in three cities: Chicago, Orlando and Washington, D.C. Through a recently...

Colorado buildings rank high in new energy-use database

News / January 7, 2015

The Denver Business Journal reported that Colorado is third among states with the most buildings that are either “net zero” in terms of energy use or are exceptionally energy efficient. This is according to a new database compiled by NBI...

IgCC Opens Compliance Pathway Based on Actual Energy Use

News / January 4, 2015

An outcome-based approach assures that buildings actually achieve energy targets, while relieving technical pressures on code departments, reported Environmental Business News. The 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) will have a compliance option based on an outcome-based approach, officials announced...

Provisions adopted into the 2015 IgCC can assist progressive communities meet energy goals

News / December 2, 2014

Cities and states looking at energy efficient buildings to help meet energy goals are getting a boost from the 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC), reported RealEstateRama. Four critical proposals that will drive significant improvements in building energy performance were...

New 2015 IgCC can assist progressive communities to meet energy goals

News / November 25, 2014

November 24, 2014–Cities and states looking at energy efficient buildings to help meet energy goals are getting a boost from the 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC). Four critical proposals that will drive significant improvements in building energy performance were...

Absolute Zero: U.S. is Closer to Building Zero-Net Energy Communities

News / November 12, 2014

From high-rises to subdivisions, the U.S. is getting closer to building sustainable and resilient zero-net energy communities. Doing more with less — it’s an axiom the public sector has heard for years. Usually such a call to action is based...

Energy efficiency and solar: Beer and wine or gin & tonic?

News / October 28, 2014

Traditionally, energy efficiency and solar have been thought of like beer and wine – two great options that belong in separate glasses. More recently, however, they have become like gin and tonic – two great options that are best together....

Approaching Zero

News / October 21, 2014

Design teams reach the once-elusive goal of creating buildings that produce as much energy as they consume, reports Architectural Record. A building that produces all the energy it requires, without sacrifices to its operations or concessions of human comfort, might...

New Energy Code Approach Could Be Industry Game-Changer

News / October 14, 2014

When Seattle’s Supply Laundry Building opened in 1906, building codes looked rather different than they do today. And energy codes weren’t yet a gleam in even the most progressive politician’s eye. These days, however, after a full renovation and a...

Northeast gears up to fuel hot trend in buildings: net zero energy

News / October 14, 2014

Regional efficiency programs build on momentum, bring technical resources October 9, 2014— The built environment in the United States is poised for a transformation that experts believe will result in high performance, resilient spaces that save owners money on energy...

Getting to Zero: The New Wave of Building Efficiency

News / October 13, 2014

Cathy Higgins, Research Director was interviewed for Green Technology Magazine. The article discusses the evolution of ZNE buildings and prospects for schools. (10/13/2014)

System Control Offers Increased HVAC Efficiency For Smaller Buildings

News / September 23, 2014

Environmental Leader reported on new technology in heating, venting and air conditioning building automation systems for small- and mid-sized buildings. The article references a 2004 New Buildings Institute study, which found that 91 percent of the packaged rooftop units tested...

Zero Net Energy the newest trend in High Performance Buildings

News / September 5, 2014

New England Real Estate Journal reported that ZNE seems to be trending throughout Massachusetts and across North America. ZNE buildings currently contribute to a small fraction of all green buildings, but if you have sat through a presentation or read...

Architects, Engineers Stand to Benefit from Potential IgCC Change

News / July 29, 2014

ConstructionPro Network reported that a proposed change to the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) could make it considerably easier for architects and engineers to make buildings more energy efficient. Among those supporting the proposed outcome-based compliance path in IgCC is...

Net Zero Roundtable

News / July 10, 2014

The push for net zero energy buildings has increased in recent years, with New Buildings Institute reporting that the number of verified net zero energy buildings or those targeting net zero energy has more than doubled in just two years,...

New approach to energy code compliance clears hurdle

News / June 3, 2014

Outcome-based pathway would focus on a building’s energy performance once in occupancy May 15, 2014—Owners and design teams working toward high energy performance buildings have a potential new ally in the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). The development committee reviewing...

How deep is the net-zero water hole?

News / May 14, 2014

The net-zero energy concept has been slowly gaining traction in the North American construction industry. Another concept that goes hand-in-hand with net-zero energy is net-zero water. The Daily Commercial News reported that a recent study was done in Washington, D.C....

Study examines present-day policies and fiscal realities of zero energy, Living Buildings in Washington, DC

News / April 29, 2014

April 30 , 2014-–The District of Columbia Department of the Environment today released the findings of a recent study detailing how the District, already home to more green buildings per capita than other large cities, can best craft policy and...

Design Shifts To Performance

News / April 8, 2014

Right now in the building industry it feels like there is a huge leap project teams and building owners are trying to make from targeting design improvements, beyond energy codes and standards, to targeting real performance and measurements. Neil Bulger,...

Industry Proposes Innovative Method for Implementing Green Construction Code

News / April 2, 2014

An “Outcome-based Pathway,” was submitted as a proposed code change to the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). It appears in the monograph of IgCC proposed changes that the International Code Council released March 15, 2014 for public review. This pathway...

Zero-Energy Revolution Will Happen

News / March 11, 2014

Ralph DiNola, Executive Director, spoke at MIPIM, the leading international real estate event for property professionals. His presentations were “Getting to zero today: how zero net energy buildings will define the next decade of development” and “Retrofit strategy and smart...

2014 Getting to Zero Status Update

News / February 27, 2014

Several recent newsletter articles have referenced NBI’s “2014 Getting to Zero Status Update“, in addition to the radio story, OR Middle School Makes the Grade for “Zero Net Energy”. Toward net zero energy: Perspectives on the state of the market,...

Net Energy Buildings: The Future is Now

News / January 14, 2014

New study shows ultra-efficient, clean energy-powered buildings are gaining ground across the United States and Canada Growth in numbers, locations, types and sizes all mark progress on the state of commercial zero net energy (ZNE) buildings-–ultra-efficient buildings that generate as...

Codes, Standards + Rating Systems

News / January 6, 2014

It’s time to increase our focus on building operations and occupancy issues. Mark Frankel, AIA, technical director for NBI and the Vision 2020 chair for Codes, Standards + Rating Systems wrote this article for EcoHome. Outcome-based policies, regulations, and incentives that...

PECI tests New Buildings Institute’s plug load energy use metrics at HQ

News / November 6, 2013

Building Design + Construction reported, that NBI developed the first ever set of plug load energy use metrics, which will allow commercial building owners and managers to more easily gain insight into their buildings’ energy use and become more energy...

PECI helps affirm usefulness of new plug load metrics

News / November 6, 2013

Portland-based PECI used NBI metrics to assess plug load energy use at its First and Main Building headquarters in downtown Portland. The study inspired an energy-saving campaign that resulted in an 18 percent kWh reduction of PECI’s plug load reports...

International Code Council Approves Stringent New Requirements for Historical Structures

News / October 29, 2013

Updates to the 2015 IECC update parameters for historic buildings and set guidelines for their renovation. This article, about the IECC changes that were proposed by a team of industry representatives that included New Buildings Institute, was recently published in...

New energy code includes historic gains for efficiency in existing buildings

News / October 22, 2013

Lighting controls and advanced HVAC also gain ground at 2015 IECC final action hearings October 17, 2013–Hearings to finalize the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) wrapped up in Atlantic City last week with big wins for higher efficiency requirements...

Energy Management Trends: The Power Of Plugs

News / September 30, 2013

An article written by Cathy Higgins, Research Director, and Dan Harris, P.E. was published by Today’s Facility Manager. The article reports that plug loads are the fastest growing energy use item in commercial buildings and can represent as much as...

State officials, advocates shrug as Senate bill, federal leadership stall

News / September 23, 2013

Executive Director, Ralph DiNola is quoted in this recent article from Environment & Energy Daily about the energy bill put on the Senate floor, S. 1392. The Senate bill is about voluntary building codes and grant programs. DiNola notes the importance...

Enlighted’s Technology Increases Employee Comfort and Reduces Lighting Power by 59% at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

News / July 30, 2013

MarketWatch reported that NEEA, NBI and Enlighted collaborated on a study that found when given the option, individuals chose less light. Organizations could substantially reduce their utility bills while improving employee satisfaction. (7/23/2013)

Prepare to Measure Performance

News / June 17, 2013

NBI announced that Ralph DiNola, a LEED Fellow, immediate-past board chair of the Living Future Institute, and founder and partner at Green Building Services, has been named as the new executive director. As he settled into his first week at...

Building The Capacity To Increase Net Zero Construction

News / June 6, 2013

Forbes magazine features zero net energy buildings with an article highlighting the newly opened Zero Net Energy Center in California. The article cites NBI’s Getting to Zero list of 21 verified ZNE buildings. The center will serve as a net...

Kilroy Wants San Francisco’s First Net-Zero Office Building

News / June 4, 2013

Kilroy Realty Corp. is seeking to create San Francisco’s first office building capable of operating on a net-zero-energy basis. The Registry talked with Stacey Hobart, Communications Director at NBI, about what it means to be a net zero building. (6/4/2013)

New Buildings Institute welcomes new executive director

News / May 24, 2013

Ralph DiNola to head nonprofit’s work advancing energy performance in buildings; retains ties to Green Building Services as strategic advisor May 23, 2013–New Buildings Institute (NBI) today announced that Ralph DiNola has been named the organization’s new executive director. The...

In U.S. building industry, is it too easy to be green?

News / October 30, 2012

In this USA Today article they reference a 2008 NBI report written in part by Mark Frankel, Technical Director. The report found LEED buildings used on average 24% less energy but that roughly a third used more energy than conventional...

Commercial Plug Loads

News / October 19, 2012

Newsletter articles referenced NBI’s “Commercial Office Plug Load Savings Assessment“. The study reveals details about actual energy consumption of common plug loads and measured savings of 40 percent or more resulting from low-cost efficiency measures. 5 Steps To Help You...

High Performance, Low Operating Costs

News / October 16, 2012

Vermont Mutual Insurance Group wanted their building to perform in the most energy-efficient way. Their project team worked with Efficiency Vermont to follow the New Construction Core Performance Guide. Tracey Beckstrom, Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives, wrote about the experience...

How Low Can You Go?

News / September 5, 2012

Today’s Facility Manager featured NBI’s Getting to Zero 2012 Status Update in their article “How Low Can You Go?”. Communications Director, Stacey Hobart explains how the use of building technologies can help achieve a zero net energy goal. (7/1/2012)

Tenants Look to Reduce Office Equipment Power Consumption

News / August 21, 2012

Commercial Property Executive Magazine’s plug-load management article quotes Amy Cortese, Senior Project Manager, and includes the 5 steps for reducing energy used by electronic devices from the Plug Load Best Practices Guide. (8/21/2012)

New guide outlines best practices for cutting energy used by plug-in devices

News / July 19, 2012

July 19, 2012–The number of things office workers plug into the socket is growing rapidly. To help commercial building owners and occupants get control of the energy used by office equipment and other electronic devices, New Buildings Institute (NBI) today...

Performance Data is Essential in Advancing Building Efficiency

News / July 10, 2012

Worldwatch Blogs recently stated, “Data collection is increasingly recognized as a priority in the evaluation and evolution of green buildings”. They reference NBI’s study, Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings. (6/25/2012)

Green buildings gain momentum in India

News / June 25, 2012

The green building movement in India is now so deep and vast that it promises to change the course of its construction industry, reports The Economic Times. This article references a 2008 study commissioned by NBI that showed some green...

Energy-Saving Deep Retrofits at Negligible Cost?

News / June 19, 2012

Deep retrofits with energy savings topping 30 to 50 percent result only from energy efficiency strategies that affect multiple building systems, reports Urban Land. This article references NBI’s work in the study A Search for Deep Energy Savings. (6/18/2012)

Deep Retrofits Promise Positive Returns

News / June 19, 2012

Deep retrofit examples, their strategies, related benefits, and their potential are described in an article published in Building Operating Management. These examples are drawn from NBI’s study A Search for Deep Energy Savings and include comments from Mark Lyles, NBI Project...

Lab Report: XXVIII

News / May 23, 2012

New ways of envisioning architecture, design, and construction are discussed in this blog by and they mention research done by NBI. This research can be found in the report Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings. (5/22/2012)

Zero Energy Buildings are on the rise across the U.S.

News / March 22, 2012

As reported by several publications, zero energy commercial buildings—highly efficient buildings that produce as much energy as they use—are cropping up across the United States from California to New York state. Net Zero Energy Building Market to See Rapid Growth...

Daylighting as a Cost-Effective Solution

News / March 7, 2012

Existing buildings can maximize sunlight use without making structural changes. In this article, from Buildings, Barb Hamilton, Senior Lighting Manager for the NBI, offers three strategies to maximize daylight and minimize artificial light. (2/24/2012)

Zero Energy Buildings on the Rise Across the U.S. New Report Finds Projects Expanding in Number, Geography and Building Type

News / March 6, 2012

March 6, 2012–A new report released today by the New Buildings Institute (NBI) and the Zero Energy Commercial Building Consortium (CBC) reveals that zero energy commercial buildings—highly efficient buildings that produce as much energy as they use through on-site renewable...

Barnstable Airport energy efficiency paying off

News / February 27, 2012

The renovated Barnstable Airport has been awarded $60,570 in incentive funds from Cape Light Compact for making its new Hyannis passenger terminal and air traffic control tower highly energy efficient, reported Wicked Local Barnstable. Cape Light Compact subscribes to the...

Airport Earns Cash for Energy Savings

News / January 25, 2012

Barnstable Municipal Airport has been awarded $60,570 in incentive funds from Cape Light Compact for making its new Hyannis passenger terminal and air traffic control tower highly energy efficient. Cape Light Compact subscribes to the New Construction Core Performance Program,...

NBI studies impact of design decisions and operations on building energy use

News / December 1, 2011

November 29, 2011—With growing energy needs to run equipment and more complex HVAC and lighting systems in today’s commercial buildings, architects and engineers can only go so far in delivering on energy efficiency. A new study by New Buildings Institute...

Learning from performance

News / April 7, 2011

The Spring 2011 edition of High Performing Buildings magazine includes an article co-written by NBI Program Director, Cathy Higgins and CIEE’s Karl Brown. Read this article and find out what can be learned from NBI’s dataset of highly energy efficient...

NBI’s Core Performance adopted as part of Massachusetts stretch code

News / June 3, 2009

June 21, 2009–The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards voted Tuesday to adopt a stretch energy code for the state that would make new commercial buildings under 100,000 square feet up to 30% more energy efficient than base standards...


There are no blog posts for Zero Energy. Please see our other posts below.

Efficiency and Carbon Reduction Goals Converge at the Built Environment

Post / April 17, 2019

With mounting evidence that immediate and aggressive action is necessary to address climate change, combined with a lack of leadership on this issue by the federal government, state and local governments are taking meaningful actions to adopt, honor, and meet...

A Small Window of Opportunity to Make Huge Gains in Climate Action

Post / March 19, 2019

Cities face unrelenting demands on policy priorities. Affordable housing, transportation, economic development, climate action, and other pressing issues compete for limited resources and funds. Now is a moment in time, however, when the opportunity to make significant progress toward carbon...

5 Must Haves to Achieve High Marks in Ultra-low Energy Schools

Post / March 11, 2019

An increasing number of school districts are investing in ultra-low energy facilities and renewables as a way to save on utility costs and create healthier and more productive learning environments for students and staff. In fact, over 219 school buildings...

Local Governments Can Lead by Example in Climate Action, Starting with the Buildings They Own

Post / February 27, 2019

For communities across the United States that are committed to implementing policies and practices that advance the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, buildings represent a golden opportunity to lead by example. Overall, about 20% of the nation’s building floorspace...

Technology Talk—Getting to Zero Energy in Existing Buildings

Post / February 22, 2019

Without upgrading our existing buildings to higher efficiency technologies we have zero hope of getting to zero energy (ZE)–or at least ultra-low energy performance–and our carbon reduction targets. We know that there are many roads to retrofits but rapid scaling...

2019 is the Year of Energy Codes

Post / January 14, 2019

If there’s a defining theme for the building sector in 2019, it’s energy codes. Actions to update the rules that cities and states set to determine how effectively new residential and commercial buildings use energy are progressing on several fronts...

New York Invests in Energy-Saving Strategies to Meet Climate Action Goals

Post / January 4, 2019

New York has emerged as a shining star in local energy policy with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement early last year of an ambitious energy efficiency target to reduce energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs (British thermal units) by...

Four States Make Strides on Advancing Energy Codes

Post / December 5, 2018

Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island come out on top in the 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released this fall. The three states ranked high on six categories including utility programs, transportation, building energy codes, combined heat and power, state initiative and...

Ithaca Leads in New York for Net Zero Energy Building Standards

Post / November 29, 2018

The energy use in buildings across the town and city of Ithaca is responsible for nearly 75% of carbon emissions, according to the local sustainability officials. To reduce its carbon footprint, the two jurisdictions are taking important steps to increase...

Aiming for Zero Energy in Existing Buildings

Post / October 10, 2018 / Existing Buildings, Operations & Maintenance

This blog was originally published as an article in Facility Executive on October 9, 2018. As the extreme weather impacts of a changing climate become more urgent, cities and states are racing to put in place strategies that will reduce...

Energy Efficiency and Equity

Post / September 25, 2018

A recent article from CityLab highlights the squeeze on low-income households—primarily renters—from rising energy cost and dwindling funding for low-income energy assistance programs. Disadvantaged communities—low-income and largely minority neighborhoods–spend a much higher share of their income on energy, according to...

Zero Energy Ready Oregon Supports Governor’s Mandate to Transform Buildings to Zero Energy Ready Performance

Post / September 11, 2018

When Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Executive Order 17-20 in the fall of 2017, she set Oregon on the path to addressing climate change by ramping up efficiency in Oregon’s buildings. Addressing building efficiency is a critical climate action strategy...

Better Buildings Can Limit Climate Change

Post / September 4, 2018

This guest blog was written by David Goldstein, NBI Board Member and NRDC Co-Director, Energy Program. It was originally published by NRDC on August 28, 2018. Climate change is the most important known-to-be-solvable problem of our time. Because buildings are...

GridOptimal Buildings: Achieving Maximum Benefit for Smart Building-to-Grid Integration

Post / August 22, 2018

As policymakers and the building community encourage improved building efficiency and reduced carbon impacts, the rapid proliferation of distributed renewable energy resources–on local businesses and homes–creates technical challenges for grid operation, even as traditional revenue models for utilities face significant...

Banking on Sustainable, Zero Energy

Post / August 21, 2018

How Suncoast Credit Union is leading the way to save energy and connect with its customers and community With close to 700,000 members, Suncoast Credit Union is the largest credit union in Florida. It’s also a leading company in sustainable...

Linking Legends

Post / July 20, 2018 / Policy

John Wilson accepting the Jeffrey Johnson Award John Wilson, former Board President of New Buildings Institute, has been awarded the 2018 Jeffrey A. Johnson Award for Excellence in the Advancement Of Building Energy Codes. This award is named in honor...

Getting to 50 and Back Again

Post / May 30, 2018

2005 was a tumultuous year and it was in those challenging times that I got the call that Jeff Johnson was gone – a mountain bike accident in the Columbia River Gorge. I knew Jeff as the Executive Director of...

Michigan Is the Latest State to Embrace the Value of Clean Energy Portfolios

Post / May 23, 2018

This guest blog was originally published by Rocky Mountain Institute on May 22, 2018. How renewable energy can unlock customer savings and shareholder value in the Midwest Last Friday, Michigan’s two largest electric utilities, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, announced...

U.S. Clean Energy Jobs: Mapped Out

Post / March 15, 2018

In case you might’ve missed it, U.S. Clean Energy Progress released a comprehensive, dynamic tool that visually illustrates the strong growth and economic benefits of clean energy jobs, including wind, solar and energy efficiency, across the U.S. The U.S. Clean...

NBI’s Legacy of Code Advocacy Lives On

Post / March 8, 2018 / Energy Codes

New Buildings Institute (NBI) has played an active and influential role in building energy codes since the day its doors opened in 1997. Jeff Johnson, one of its first executive directors, was an ardent codes advocate with a long track...

Making the Path to Zero Energy Buildings Well Worn Together

Post / February 28, 2018 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

When does a path become a road? Is it volume of travelers, difficulty of terrain or perhaps the need to arrive more rapidly at the destination to create the attention and resources needed to smooth out the path? For zero...

Eric Makela Joins NBI’s Codes and Policy Team

Post / February 22, 2018 / Energy Codes

We are pleased to announce the addition of Eric Makela to our Codes and Policy team. He brings over 30 years of global expertise in energy code development, training and evaluation, throughout the United States as well as abroad, including...

Educational Sector Leads on Zero Energy Buildings, but Lacks Retrofits

Post / January 29, 2018 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

New research by NBI looks at the reasons why existing schools don’t aim for zero. New Buildings Institute (NBI) recently released its Zero Energy* Buildings List with nearly 500 verified or emerging commercial buildings projects. Educational facilities continue to outpace...

Moving Daylighting into a New Era

Post / December 29, 2017 / Daylighting

In the energy efficiency world, we know that if there are specific and tangible non-energy benefits to energy conserving measures, it can be a game changer to motivating the implementation of these measures. One example of this is the work...

Checking in with the Passive House Network

Post / December 7, 2017 / Energy Codes

It’s been over 25 years since the Passive House concept — tight, well designed and insulated envelope and minimized mechanical loads — was formalized in Germany, and it feels like the movement has reached a tipping point here in North...

Outcomes Matter

Post / November 16, 2017 / Energy Codes

by Ryan M. Colker, Vice President of National Institute of Building Sciences We all know what it takes to lead a healthy life—eat your vegetables, exercise, and visit your doctor to monitor your cholesterol, blood sugar, weight and blood pressure....

Stretch Codes: A Disruptive Solution to Super Charge Green Building

Post / November 6, 2017 / Energy Codes

This week, thousands of building industry professionals will converge at Greenbuild 2017 to share their excitement and progress advancing green buildings. While the number of green buildings—energy-efficient, zero energy, LEED and ENERGY STAR-certified, etc.—has grown dramatically over the last decade,...

A New Metric for Tracking Energy Codes Driving Toward Zero

Post / October 10, 2017 / Energy Codes

ACEEE’s 2017 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard was released in late September with Massachusetts leading based on six categories including utility programs, transportation, building energy codes, combined heat and power, state initiative and appliance standards, according to ACEEE. Looking ahead, there are...

New Multifamily Guide Offers Solutions that Deliver Up to 25% Energy Savings

Post / October 10, 2017 / Energy Codes

Multifamily buildings pose a conundrum for advancing energy performance. As a building type, they are caught somewhere between commercial buildings and single-family residences – they are often constructed like commercial buildings, yet used as residential buildings. Energy-efficient technologies and design...

NBI 20th Anniversary: The Arc of Innovation

Post / September 21, 2017

Anniversaries provide the opportunity to mark a point in time and provide the space to examine accomplishments, purpose, and vision of the future. Staff and board members, some with NBI since the beginning, are reflecting on why the organization was...

NBI Completes Study into Energy Performance of Commercial Buildings with Radiant Systems for Cooling and Heating

Post / August 10, 2017

During the renovation of the Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, a variable air volume (VAV) system was replaced with a radiant design system. The design team included numerous CBE industry partners, including SERA Architects, Stantec, Interface Engineering, and Charles...

Best Practice Options for LED Lighting in Multifamily Offer Illumination Without Negative Impacts

Post / July 5, 2017 / Lighting

This material has been excerpted from the soon-to-be-released Multifamily Guide offering best practice design for high performance multifamily new construction projects. Stay tuned for more information on the Guide’s release. LED lighting had some of its earliest and broadest successes...

Energy Trust of Oregon Names ZNE Fellow

Post / June 19, 2017

Shilpa Surana Oregon’s net zero energy (NZE) buildings market is getting a boost with a new Net Zero Fellow to focus on one of the major barriers to NZE adoption—money. The fellowship was awarded by the Energy Trust of Oregon...

Rhode Island Shows Economic and Climate Leadership by Embracing Zero Energy Buildings

Post / June 13, 2017

As states look to realize their climate and energy policy goals, they are turning to strategies for improving building efficiency to cut carbon emissions and lower energy demand. Rhode Island is an emerging leader in this regard with a bold...

The Sum of its Parts – Honoring the Paris Climate Agreement

Post / June 2, 2017 / Policy

Last October, New Buildings Institute along with a host of partners, opened the Getting to Zero National Forum with great enthusiasm, sharing gratitude and satisfaction over the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, noting how the global agreement to address...

New Tool Calculates Water Savings from Energy Efficiency Measures, Spotlights the Water-Energy Nexus in Buildings

Post / May 31, 2017

The water-energy nexus is a nascent topic in the building industry. The impact on water systems linked to energy generation has important ecological, conservation, and sustainability implications, particularly in water-strained areas such as the Southwestern desert of the United States....

Cities Get Help to Prioritize Energy Upgrades, Improve Codes and Policies that Drive Better Building Performance

Post / April 21, 2017 / Benchmarking & Feedback, Existing Buildings

Buildings are responsible for almost half of all U.S. energy consumption (46%), and poor-performing buildings have an outsized impact on energy use. But without a systematic approach to track building performance, it’s often difficult to know where to start. By setting...

The Budding Energy Footprint of Indoor Agriculture

Post / April 7, 2017

Indoor agriculture energy usage is projected to grow substantially over the next several years, driven in large part (but not entirely) by the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. Seven U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational...

Trainings Help Build Knowledge and Design Capability that is Driving ZNE in California

Post / March 30, 2017

Zero net energy workshops are back in 2017! California has ambitious goals around zero net energy (ZNE) buildings and rightly so. Buildings account for roughly 40% of the carbon emissions in the United States and is up to 80% of...

Chicago Real Estate Leadership Summit Defines the Building Industry’s Next Opportunity for Leadership

Post / February 9, 2017

Back in November, ComEd, Seventhwave and NBI hosted a Summit, focusing on the question: “What is Chicago’s path to net zero energy buildings?” Nearly 90 real estate professionals, designers and utility representatives gathered to focus on how they might build...

DOE Looking to “Accelerate” the Market for Zero Energy Schools

Post / January 23, 2017

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Buildings program launched a Zero Energy Schools Accelerator program last month among program partners, media, school officials and others at the new Discovery Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia. The school is a model...

California Schools Have a Lot to Teach Us About Zero Net Energy

Post / December 27, 2016

Congratulations are in order for nine innovative school districts, iconic projects and leading-edge designers and firms that were honored last month with a ZNE School Leadership Award. These were notably the first non-residential zero net energy (ZNE) awards in the...

Net Zero Fellowship

Post / December 13, 2016

In Oregon, the Energy Trust has launched a new Net Zero Fellowship. The aim is to support focused research that promotes market understanding and practices of net zero energy in commercial buildings. The fellowship will also assist in developing a...

New Buildings Institute: A Top 100 Nonprofit to Work for in Oregon

Post / November 21, 2016

New Buildings Institute is proud that we have been named one of the top 100 nonprofits to work for in Oregon by Oregon Business magazine. We were ranked #25 under “Small Organizations: Fewer than 20 Oregon employees.”  There is a...

2016 Getting to Zero National Forum – Growing a Movement

Post / October 31, 2016

The NBI Getting to Zero Forum team is back in Portland after a HUGELY successful week in Denver hosting the third Getting to Zero National Forum with our co-hosting partner, Rocky Mountain Institute. In many ways, the events of the...

2016 List of Zero Net Energy Buildings

Post / October 24, 2016

We recently returned from hosting the third Getting to Zero National Forum in Denver, Colorado. It was an inspirational and educational extravaganza, with over 300 leading minds from a wide variety of fields sharing their best ideas and expertise around Zero Net...

Small buildings get big boost from SMART Scale small commercial retrofit program

Post / October 18, 2016

NBI has long advocated for more attention, tools and resources for energy efficiency in the small business sector. We created the only prescriptive approach approved as a LEED-NC pathway for moving small new commercial buildings to high performance – the...

What is California doing that we can learn from?

Post / August 10, 2016

NBI sent out a joint press release with the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission, announcing that the Golden State has hit a major milestone of over 100 verified and emerging zero net energy (ZNE) buildings. With zero...

Help NBI Tell Your Story

Post / July 14, 2016

Ever since the first commercial Zero Net Energy (ZNE) building in North America (the Lewis Center at Oberlin University) came online more than 15 years ago, sharing successes and lessons learned has been a key piece in bringing ZNE to...

The Path to Net Zero: A Shout Out to Building Operators

Post / June 21, 2016 / Controls, Operations & Maintenance, Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

Like they don’t have enough to do already, facility managers and building operators are now working to manage both sides of the electrical meter. The evolution of buildings incorporating advanced systems, highly integrated controls and distributed generation (typically photovoltaics) is...

The Louisville (Energy Codes) Saga

Post / May 16, 2016

Nearly 35 years ago, the US Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Since then, every 3 years have seen an increase in building energy efficiency but now that may change. Although Congress wisely concluded back in 1992 that...

Increasing Energy Efficiency Through Connected Systems

Post / May 11, 2016 / Integrated Solutions

Ralph Dinola, CEO, recently spoke at the EE Global Forum in Washington, D.C. The presentation was “Increasing EE Through Connected Systems: How Can Communities Take Into Account Holistic System Efficiency From Day One”, and this is his talk. At NBI,...

Global Climate Action and Energy Efficiency

Post / March 9, 2016

Global energy use is shifting. It is hard not to notice plunging prices for oil, coal and natural gas. In the past, whenever fossil fuels became cheaper, usage increased – but carbon emissions are not rising in response this time...

Zero Net Energy Buildings and the Grid

Post / February 22, 2016 / Metering, Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

As zero net energy (ZNE) and other low-energy buildings become increasingly common, we have to think about how different ZNE strategies can interact with their local electricity grids. The electricity grid was built as a one-way street, with energy flowing...

Top 16 Trends for 2016

Post / January 6, 2016

Each year at NBI, we get together to discuss the most significant and potentially impactful or disruptive trends we see coming in the commercial building and energy sectors and actions individuals can take to get ahead of what’s to come....

An Open Letter to America’s Architects

Post / October 29, 2015

I love movies where life as we know it will end unless someone can stop the massive meteor, or other catastrophe, from imploding the Earth. Everybody freaks out until some unlikely hero emerges with a risky, but innovative idea to...

Congressional Members Look at Reinventing Existing Buildings

Post / September 29, 2015

I had the honor recently of addressing members of Congress on opportunities for “reinventing” existing buildings to achieve high levels of energy efficiency and productivity. The morning briefing was hosted by the Alliance to Save Energy. Why existing buildings? (more…)...

Energy Codes Must Evolve to Achieve Policy Goals

Post / September 23, 2015

Energy codes are anticipated to play a big role in the building performance targets adopted by many jurisdictions to reduce carbon impacts from the building sector. But as codes target deep efficiencies, conventional code language and enforcement mechanisms face significant...

What Commercial Real Estate Executives Think and Do About Energy Efficiency

Post / September 16, 2015

The 2014 Northwest Commercial Building Stock Assessment estimates the size of the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) market in the Northwest to be 1.6 billion square feet–a market of existing buildings that are prime candidates for energy and carbon reductions through...

A Pause to Remember Jeff Johnson

Post / August 18, 2015

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the passing of Jeff Johnson, New Buildings Institute’s (NBI) former executive director from 2000 to 2005. He died doing what he loved, mountain biking in the Columbia Gorge. Jeff was a person who...

New Construction Guide and the Architecture 2030 Challenge

Post / July 1, 2015

In 2006, Architecture 2030 took a bold step: Challenge everyone involved with the built environment — designers, owners, government, utilities, operators and tenants, everyone — to reach for the goal of Zero Net Energy by 2030. Using the average performance...

Do you really know how close you are to Net Zero?

Post / April 27, 2015

“The Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI) is a straightforward scale that fundamentally shifts how we think about and measure energy efficiency in buildings,” says Jim Edelson, NBI’s Director of Codes and Policy. Edelson traveled recently to the DOE National Energy...

Codes Make a Difference–A Big Difference

Post / April 6, 2015

Since its inception nearly 18 years ago, NBI has maintained a strong emphasis on energy codes. Current NBI staff and board members continue the focus established early on by the organization’s founders. We know codes make a difference—a big difference....

Five Reasons Why Zero Energy Buildings are the Real Deal

Post / March 31, 2015

When New Buildings Institute published the first-ever list of verified zero energy buildings in 2012, an abstract concept turned real. These were documented examples of high-efficiency buildings coupled with onsite renewables that could produce enough energy to power themselves over...

McDonald’s Study Explores Idea of a Net Zero Energy Quick Service Restaurant

Post / March 16, 2015

A recently released study looks at the technical and financial feasibility of achieving new net zero energy restaurants in three cities including Chicago, Illinois, Orlando, Florida, and Washington, D.C. The study, commissioned by McDonald’s Corporation, was conducted by Rocky Mountain...

We Hear You

Post / March 4, 2015

I recently checked in with as many NBI stakeholders as I could to learn a little more about them and to see how NBI’s doing. A few months ago an email containing a link to an online communications interest survey...

The 2015 Getting to Zero National Forum – What a Smashing Success

Post / February 23, 2015

Earlier this month, NBI, along with its partners the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), gathered over 250 of North America’s leading policymakers, design professionals, building owners and commercial real estate professionals at the...

Teaming with Technology

Post / January 26, 2015

It’s mid-January and I’m sitting in the most sustainable building in the world – the Bullitt Center in Seattle. It’s a grey cool day outside (it is Seattle after all), but inside the atmosphere is bright, with no electric lights...

U.S. DOE Looks for Agreement on Zero Energy Building Standards

Post / January 21, 2015

Futurists look for signs that tell them what’s to come. In case you missed it, there was an arm-waving sign earlier this week when the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a public notice asking for input on a variety...

Top Ten Priorities for Getting to 2030

Post / January 6, 2015

A New Year’s Reality Check, 15 Years In… Where does the time go? Just last week we celebrated the arrival of 2015, in all of its New Year’s freshness and possibility. And while I’m happy to greet the new year with...

Vermont Leads the Way

Post / December 30, 2014

What do the State of Vermont and NBI have in common (besides a soft spot for counterculture energy nerds)? I’d answer that both are small in stature but have built legacies around aggressively pushing for codes and policies that promote...

Early adopters receive training on ZNE Buildings

Post / December 22, 2014

New Buildings Institute, CPUC and utilities collaborated to host two southern California training on zero net energy trends, policy and funding opportunities, case studies, and tools for communicating and planning zero energy buildings. Materials from the workshop are linked below....

New buildings database offers important lessons on achieving low-energy buildings

Post / December 9, 2014

There is no better teacher than experience and now NBI has over 280 experiences to share through its new Getting to Zero Buildings Database. The database officially released today offers a dynamic way to find in-depth case studies about high...

2015 IgCC gives cities and states something to be thankful for

Post / November 25, 2014

As we move toward Thanksgiving this Thursday, the recent adoption of the 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) gives cities and states a lot to be thankful for. Four critical proposals that will drive significant improvements in building energy performance...

Northwest cities get help from NEEA to address worst performing buildings

Post / November 20, 2014

Existing buildings with aging equipment and infrastructure represent a tremendous opportunity for energy savings. But, without a mechanism to identify inefficient buildings and prioritize budgets for upgrades, it’s difficult to know where to start. Under a pilot program, funded by...

Outcome-Base Compliance on the horizon for IgCC with electronic voting as last step

Post / October 16, 2014

Just two weeks ago code officials and government representatives from across the country gathered in Fort Lauderdale for the Final Action Hearings on the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). Most notably for the energy-related sections of this model energy code,...

The Energy Code Paradox

Post / September 17, 2014

What happens when compliance becomes a barrier to achieving energy performance in buildings? For over fifteen years, New Buildings Institute (NBI) has worked to advance energy codes in jurisdictions around North America. We’ve had some huge wins for higher efficiency...

NBI and NIBS Convene a Stellar Cast for August Summit with Compelling Outcomes

Post / September 12, 2014

NBI was thrilled to partner with National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to host the Getting to Outcome-Based Performance Summit in Seattle. Together with a handpicked group of leading thinkers and practitioners in high performance building design, construction and operations, we...

NBI taps Charles Eley as a Fellow

Post / August 21, 2014

New Buildings Institute (NBI) is pleased to announce that Charles Eley, longtime energy efficiency advocate and consultant, has been named an NBI Fellow. NBI Fellowship recognizes luminary energy efficiency professionals who have made a significant contribution to society through their...

Persuasive Communications and Building Codes

Post / August 6, 2014

NBI is deeply involved in energy code development in the commercial sector, including pursing an Outcome-Based Compliance Path for the 2015 IgCC. With more than half of U.S. states still with outdated building energy codes, employing the power of persuasive...

Getting serious about carbon emissions, EPA releases new proposal on clean power

Post / June 4, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday released its new Clean Power Plan proposal which is intended to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants–the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. New Buildings Institute (NBI) applauds...

Policies Promoting Net Zero Energy Should Focus On Efficiency First

Post / May 6, 2014

NBI and its partners, International Living Future Institute and Skanska, recently completed research on the costs associated with Zero Energy and Living Buildings™ for the District of Columbia Department of the Environment. The District has been a leader in high...

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Leads on High Efficiency, ZNE Buildings

Post / May 2, 2014

On April 29, 2014, Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee signed an Executive Order announcing a broad new effort for the State of Washington to address the challenges of climate change. The order contained some important language around zero net energy buildings...

Government Leadership Creates Powerful Action on Deep Energy Efficiency and Climate Change

Post / April 9, 2014

Vermont, California, Kentucky, Pima County, Salt Lake City, Fort Collins, Washington DC. These communities are among those leading by example in setting zero net energy (ZNE) goals for both local policies and their own government buildings. Policymakers in these jurisdictions...

Ohio Lawmakers Strike a Blow to Sustainability in the Built Environment

Post / March 12, 2014

You might not think of Ohio as a standard bearer of the sustainability movement, but according to that state’s U.S. Green Building Council, it ranks No. 1 in the nation for green schools. These schools provide healthy learning environments by...

The Widespread Success of ZNE Hinges on the Bottom Line, But Whose?

Post / February 25, 2014

In addition to my job at NBI, I’ve had the honor and privilege to serve on several boards, including Cascadia Green Building Council and the International Living Future Institute. My work has allowed me the opportunity to get to know...

ZNE – The Story Continues…

Post / February 14, 2014

NBI’s recently released 2014 Getting to Zero Status Update provides a snapshot of the advancing zero net energy (ZNE) market in commercial buildings. While the market is still very small, the number of buildings achieving ZNE Verified performance or those...

Zero Net Energy Buildings: The Future Is Now

Post / January 14, 2014

A quiet revolution is unfolding across North America; a simple and captivating idea is taking hold in executive suites, board rooms, design studios, on constructions sites, among political leaders, citizens, school teachers and students alike. Zero net energy (ZNE)—ultra-efficient structures...

Looking Back and Forward . . . to a New Year

Post / January 1, 2014

Every so often it’s good to look back on the path you’ve been traveling to make sure you’re still headed in the right direction. So here at the end of 2013, we at NBI are reflecting on the highlights of...

New Products Leverage LED’s Unique Qualities

Post / December 17, 2013

Recently, I had the long-awaited opportunity to see new lighting products that apply LEDs in ways that leverage their unique qualities: tiny size, strong directional nature and high efficiency potential for a new aesthetic. Coming out of the DOE SSL...

Bold Action on Climate Change

Post / November 19, 2013

Just before Halloween, some big news came out and then quickly slipped back beneath the radar. It’s easy to see why: a story of government collaboration and progress could hardly be expected to grab much attention in a news cycle...

Fault Detection and Diagnostics

Post / November 14, 2013

Work initially done in California to improve economizers and support fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) on commercial rooftop HVAC units has now been applied at a national level. A recent adoption of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requires economizer...

A Positive Trend is Unfolding in the Building Industry

Post / November 6, 2013

Since we gathered at the Getting to Zero National Forum with NASEO in Denver, Colo., we’ve been busy synthezing the outcomes of this first-of-its-kind event.  We had a sold-out crowd and received tremendous feedback on the depth and technical content...

Existing buildings get new emphasis and clarity in IECC and other I-Codes

Post / October 15, 2013

In seeming defiance of our own name, New Buildings Institute (NBI) has been working hard on a handful of key issues regarding existing buildings for the 2015 round of International Code Council (ICC) code development hearings. Recognizing the issues that...

My first 100 days (well, 114 to be exact)

Post / September 25, 2013

Beginning with FDR, it has been a tradition for the President of the United States to plan an agenda for his (and in the future, her) first 100 days in office. When the milestone is reached, the leader takes a...

Bubbles at the NBIL! Evaporative Sidecar Testing for Retrofitting Rooftop Units

Post / September 5, 2013

We have seen the future and it is bubbly. This summer we’ve been busy testing the effectiveness of using an indirect evaporative air conditioner to retrofit an existing 5-ton rooftop unit (RTU) in the western Washington and Oregon climate. Testing...

California Leading by Example

Post / August 14, 2013

More than 80 public building representatives met in Sacramento recently to kick off California’s ZNE Early Adopters Network. The meeting was the first of three planned sessions to support public sector leadership in zero-net energy (ZNE) practice, process, and planning...

Vermont is Willing to Stretch for Efficiency

Post / August 6, 2013

Vermont adopted a “stretch code” for building energy efficiency in the spring of 2013. The stretch code will be developed through a public, statewide process and will then be available for local adoption by towns that want to go above...

Energy Department Invests to Save Small Buildings Money by Saving Energy

Post / July 19, 2013

Following the recent release of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) announced an investment that will reduce energy use while helping U.S. businesses reduce costs. A $10 million investment by USDOE is funding six projects...

Regulatory Rewards

Post / June 11, 2013

Small government. Big government. Over-regulation. Race to the bottom. We frequently see these black-and-white characterizations of government regulation. Not just characterizations, but caricatures in some cases. We say, “Stifling!” “Handcuffs on business!” During 10 days of International Code Council hearings...

NBI milestone gives cause for reflection

Post / April 11, 2013

NBI has released its FY2012 Annual Report. Here is the opening letter from Executive Director Dave Hewitt and Board President David Goldstein.New Buildings Institute hit a milestone at the end of 2012, turning 15 years old. Thinking back on the...

No Better Time to Talk Energy Codes

Post / November 14, 2012

The remarkable events of the last few weeks, from a heated presidential election to “Superstorm” Sandy that left unanticipated destruction in its wake, brought with them new questions and much-needed debate about our nation’s energy challenges. Last week saw an...

NBI Puts High Performance HVAC Units to the Test

Post / August 21, 2012

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The Not-So-New Next Big Thing: Retrofits

Post / July 25, 2012

For several years, NBI has been exploring and researching strategies to drive deep energy savings across the existing commercial building sector. As we’ve noted before, there are upwards of 71.6 billion square feet of commercial space across the U.S. and...

5 Steps to Plug Load Savings

Post / July 10, 2012

In the goal of reducing energy costs, businesses–-even those in the energy efficiency industry–have historically focused on upgrades to equipment and facilities, while largely ignoring occupant behavior. But as building systems improve in efficiency, the human side of the energy...

Commissioning (not just) for California

Post / June 26, 2012

For many years, California has led the way in progressive energy efficient building measures, and the state is pursuing an aggressive long-term goal of making 50 percent of all existing commercial buildings net zero by 2030. To this end, the...

Initiating Energy Transparency

Post / June 5, 2012

Trying to improve energy efficiency in the building sector without readily available energy data is a little like trying to lose weight when you don’t have a scale. Fortunately, the building industry stands to gain by a trend in transparency...

Daylighting Done Right

Post / May 25, 2012

Incorporating natural light into building design has become an increasingly popular strategy that is dramatically improving energy performance and occupant satisfaction. The use of new glazing and shading systems as well as other daylight-harvesting components and controls is reducing dependence...

Reflections on Living Future 2012

Post / May 11, 2012

So often we go to conferences, learn a few new things, feel inspired (or not), and return to work a little behind on our to-do lists. Living Future 2012, attended by a handful of us at NBI, was an exception....

Rooftop Unit (RTU) Retrofits = Big Savings for Owners and Tenants

Post / April 25, 2012

We already know that the efficiency potential for rooftop units (RTUs) is huge. They sit atop about half of the commercial floor space across the United States and since they’re often neglected, less than optimal performance leaves building owners and...

Gen 2030: Working for the Next Generation

Post / April 4, 2012

In the first quarter of 2012 NBI staff welcomed three new babies – all boys.  The obvious puns followed: New Boys Institute, New Babies Inevitable. Late last year the connection of these new lives joining us in 2012 occurred to...

ULI/Greenprint Partnership Brings Key Players (and Dialogue) to the Table

Post / March 30, 2012

“33% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the built environment.” That’s just one of the statements that regularly headlines the home page of the Greenprint Foundation. Underneath is a description of the Foundation as “a catalyst for change,...

The Best (Re)Invesment: Big Payoffs with Green Retrofits

Post / March 7, 2012

It takes money to make money. The expression certainly applies to green retrofits: throw some cash at upgrading your 20+-year-old HVAC system and you’re likely to see the reduction in utility bills pay for the first costs and more before...

Solutions for the Plug Load Challenge

Post / February 16, 2012

Often it’s not how we design buildings that impacts actual energy performance but what we, the occupants, do in those buildings that counts. It’s becoming increasingly clear that occupancy factors, such as behavior, have a significant impact on a building’s...

The 12 Themes of Retrofit

Post / December 21, 2011

In these final days of 2011, a report of our September Summit on Deep Energy Retrofits (DERs) is on my holiday list of things to wrap into a colorful package with ribbons of logic and bows that compel change. The...

NIBS Releases Data Needs Report

Post / December 15, 2011

Increasingly over the last several years, members of the building industry have expressed the need for both broader and more targeted benchmark data on high-performance buildings.  The Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) has long served as the major source...

Stretch codes at work in Massachusetts

Post / November 22, 2011

Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced that more than 100 municipalities have adopted the state’s stretch code designed to reduce energy use by 30 percent and cut carbon emissions by 40 percent. This milestone comes just two and half...

Proving Performance in the IgCC

Post / October 31, 2011

Will the IgCC allow for higher innovation in building design? An outcome-based compliance path would pave the way for use of advanced strategies. Local code officials will once again find themselves at the nexus of something historic when they come together...

Tackling 71.6 Billion Square Feet

Post / October 2, 2011

NBI recently hosted the 2011 Deep Savings in Existing Buildings Summit, gathering more than 80 innovative thinkers on energy savings and the built environment. Held in Boulder, Colorado, the three-day event was organized as part of NBI’s ongoing work to...

Sources of Inspiration in the Search for Deep Energy Savings

Post / August 24, 2011

It’s been said that the greenest building is the one already standing.  There’s a lot of truth in that when you consider the embodied energy of building materials and, with luck, a cultivated sense of place.  At least in the...

Selling the Savings: Deep Energy Retrofits

Post / August 9, 2011

Despite growing awareness of the need to become radically more energy efficient, the small to mid-sized commercial real estate market has been slow to implement energy efficiency retrofits. This sector represents a majority of the existing commercial building stock and...

Next Step After CBECS: Defining the Path Forward

Post / July 29, 2011

As reported in our June 14 post, the 2011 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) was suspended following Congressionally-mandated budget cuts to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). CBECS has been the nation’s only source of statistical data on energy use...

Barriers to Energy Efficiency Financing: The New State of Things

Post / June 29, 2011

As the idiom says, “money talks.”  This is still true at a time when energy efficiency has been shown to have a strong, if sometimes lengthy, return on investment. Regardless, it’s no surprise that first cost financing challenges continue to...

No more CBECS…Now what?

Post / June 14, 2011

In April’s budget compromise, Congress cut the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) FY 2011 funding by 14 percent. That equates to a roughly $15.2 million reduction, forcing “adjustments” to many of EIA’s energy data, analysis and forecasting programs. Programs that guide...

A Chance Encounter with the Massachusetts Stretch Energy Code

Post / March 2, 2011

On a recent trip to visit friends in rural Western Massachusetts, I stumbled upon an indication of the great effort and success NBI’s code team has had working with that State.  Posted in the front window of the local health...

NBI’s Technical Director Honored with BetterBricks Award

Post / February 16, 2011

Mark Frankel, Technical Director at New Buildings Institute (NBI), was recognized for “Outstanding Industry Contribution” during the BetterBricks Awards breakfast on Friday, February 11th in Portland, Oregon. A licensed architect and experienced project manager and technical consultant, Frankel has spent...

Historic Change to Building Codes Approved: Now What?

Post / February 9, 2011

Last October, local government representatives and code officials gathered in Charlotte, North Carolina, for an historic vote on one of our national model energy codes, the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). By approving the package of proposed changes, they...

NBI Encourages Washington State to Maintain Leadership on Energy Codes

Post / February 3, 2011

With all the recent success improving the efficiency of national model energy codes (see 2012 IECC and 90.1 2010), it is easy to lose sight of the fact that codes are adopted and enforced on a state-by-state basis. NBI Executive...

Not Accepting Poor Performance

Post / January 6, 2011

It’s no secret that most commercial buildings perform poorly in terms of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The question is, why do we put up with it? As author Auden Schendler puts it in this post for Climate Progress...

NBI at Greenbuild: Building Performance and Outcome-based Codes

Post / December 4, 2010

Recently, NBI had the opportunity to present some of our projects and ideas at the world’s largest green building gathering, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild conference. Mark Frankel, NBI’s Technical Director, presented the results of a new study on...

Better Building Energy Codes Now: the Reasonable and Crucial Next Step

Post / October 6, 2010

by Dave Hewitt, NBI & Jessyca Henderson, AIA With today’s conspicuous promotion of green building and sustainability, it is easy to forget that the bulk of commercial building design does exactly what it has always done: meet the local building...

NBI at ACEEE Summer Study

Post / August 18, 2010

Every other year, energy efficiency advocates from around the world gather at the sleepy Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Calif., to share what they’ve learned about energy efficiency in buildings. The Summer Study, which runs through this week, is...

Taking It to the Bank: Finance and Real Estate Meet on Energy Efficiency

Post / July 14, 2010

The Empire State Building–-what better icon to showcase the potential of energy efficiency to literally transform a building and a market? But the story of the Empire State Building (ESB) is really a story about money. So, the Urban Land...

A Different T – Party: Thinking About Transforming the Market to Measured Performance

Post / June 22, 2010

On a recent spring day more than 20 leading design professionals gathered in a small conference room at EHDD Architects in San Francisco. I had asked them to join this newly formed group I call “CAMP” – California Advisors on...

Living Future 2010 and the Emergence of zEPI (Zero Energy Performance Index)

Post / May 24, 2010

This year’s Living Future conference in Seattle provided many highlights. From the simple yet inspirational message of working together provided by Dr. John Francis to the heartfelt thanks (and slight roasting) NBI’s technical director Mark Frankel received as outgoing Director...

Window Volume Purchase Program Working to Lower Cost, Improve Availability

Post / May 18, 2010

R-5 windows can reduce average heat loss by 30-40% over common ENERGY STAR-qualified products (with an R-3 value), and low-e storm windows have the potential for twice the energy savings of those without a low-e coating, according to Department of...

NBI Well Represented at Cascadia Green Building Council’s Living Future Conference

Post / May 6, 2010

Today kicked off the first day of the annual Living Future (Un)conference taking place this year in Seattle, Washington.  Four employees from the Vancouver, Washington office, including Executive Director Dave Hewitt, will be joining NBI’s Technical Director Mark Frankel in...

Oregon Buildings Strive to Reach Net-Zero Energy Goal in ETO Pilot

Post / March 30, 2010

Fifteen new commercial building projects will push the limits of energy performance under a pilot program offered by the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO).  The Path to Net-Zero pilot program is targeting buildings that will achieve the lowest possible energy...

Green Building Code Released – Open for Public Review

Post / March 24, 2010

On Monday, March 15 2010, the International Code Council (ICC) released a green building code proposal, the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) Public Version 1.0, for public review.While NBI is not a sponsor of the IGCC proposal several NBI staff...

Energy Codes Identified as a Green Building Trend to Watch in ’10

Post / February 8, 2010

As the calendar switches from 2009 to 2010 the attention being given to energy codes is seeming to intensify. A recent post titled “4 Green Building Trends to Watch in 2010” by the popular green innovation blog earth2tech identified energy...

NBI Collaborates with CIEE on Two Measured Performance Case Studies

Post / January 26, 2010

In collaboration with the California Institute for Energy and the Environment (CIEE), NBI recently completed measured performance case studies for two buildings on the University of California campus at Merced (UCM). Classroom & Office Building Case StudyScience & Engineering Building...

Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense?

Post / November 21, 2009

Last week, CB Richard Ellis and the University of San Diego presented “Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense?” at the annual USGBC GreenBuild conference in Phoenix, AZ. The study compared 154 Energy Star labeled buildings in 10 selected markets...

The Chicago Chapter of the USGBC publishes a measured performance study of 25 Illinois LEED projects

Post / November 12, 2009

Due to our continued work in the field of measured performance, NBI is encouraged to see other organizations conducting significant research in this realm. Contributing perspectives such as this one, not only broadens the conversation, but also serves to reinforce...

NBI’s Code Proposals Clear First Hurdle

Post / November 3, 2009

Model energy codes that require 30% better efficiency just got a step closer to reality. NBI’s major energy code proposal, EC 147, was approved on a 6-5 vote last Friday (October 30) at the IECC Code Development Hearings in Baltimore,...

Three Recent Reports Catch Our Eye

Post / October 23, 2009

The energy efficiency field is comprised of many groups and organizations conducting and publishing important work. Occasionally NBI comes across a report that not only helps to inform our efforts but which we consider critical to the advancement of energy...

Massachusetts Zero Net Energy Buildings Task Force Gets it Right

Post / October 10, 2009

In what can only be considered encouraging news, Massachusetts continues its aggressive pursuit of zero net energy buildings. This year, the Commonwealth adopted a new “stretch code” and the governor-appointed Zero Net Energy Buildings Task Force released its comprehensive report,...

Better Energy Codes: It’s not rocket science

Post / October 5, 2009

Long the turf of behind-the-scenes bureaucrats, energy building codes are now playing a key role in the fight against climate change. Every three years, a group called the International Code Council (ICC) updates building energy codes and releases its “model”...

Case StudiesView All

There are no case studies for Zero Energy. Please see our other case studies below.

Emerging Zero Net Energy School Retrofit Case Study: Los Osos Middle School

Case Study / January 24, 2018

The mild climate in coastal cities such as Los Osos makes ZNE performance a realistic target with minimal needs for heating and cooling. It should however be noted that in such mild climates payback on upgrades to heating systems can…

Emerging Zero Net Energy School Retrofit Case Study: Newcastle Elementary School

Case Study / January 24, 2018

With funding from California’s Prop 39, the Newcastle Elementary School District (ESD) issued a request for proposal to develop an Energy Expenditure Plan for their district. With a long list of deferred maintenance issues and budget challenges, Newcastle ESD was…

Emerging Zero Net Energy School Retrofit Case Study: Garden Grove School District

Case Study / January 24, 2018

Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) is a large, low-income school district that has recently become a regional leader in Zero Net Energy. Among California’s 140 school districts with greater than 65% for Free & Reduced Price Meals, GGUSD was…

Radiant Cooling and Heating Systems

Case Study / September 13, 2017 / HVAC

Several buildings with radiant heating and cooling systems were studied under a California Energy Commission EPIC research project in 2016-2017 and those case studies are available here. While forced-air distribution systems remain the predominant approach to heating and cooling in…

Verified ZNE Building Case Study: North Face & VF Outdoors

Case Study / March 8, 2017

The North Face corporate facility is part of the VF Outdoor Campus in Alameda, California. The VF Outdoors Headquarters occupies 14 acres of the Harbor Business Park and includes a 160,000-square-foot, four-building development completed in 2012. A fifth building is…

Emerging ZNE Building Case Study: Environmental Innovation Center

Case Study / March 8, 2017

Completed in 2014, the Environmental Innovation Center (EIC) in San José, CA, is a local government-owned education and environmental resources center that is targeting zero net energy (ZNE) performance. The project contains a 10,000-square-foot new building and a retrofit of…

Emerging ZNE Building Case Study: California State Lottery District Office in Santa Fe Springs

Case Study / March 8, 2017

The California State Lottery District Office in Santa Fe Springs is a retrofit of an existing 12,840-square-foot warehouse and is one of the first state-owned and operated buildings to target zero net energy (ZNE). The Lottery partnered with LPAS Architecture…

Verified ZNE Building Case Study: Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems Manufacturing Facility

Case Study / March 8, 2017

The Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems (BAGS) manufacturing facility is a retrofit of a 1969 concrete warehouse that was renovated in 2008 to be a zero net energy (ZNE) building. The 63,000-square-foot Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems manufacturing facility produces custom glass…

Verified ZNE Building Case Study: 435 Indio Way

Case Study / March 8, 2017

435 Indio Way in Sunnyvale, California, was built in 1973 as a research and development laboratory and office for Hewlett Packard. Like many buildings in the Silicon Valley, it is a simple one-story, tilt-up that since 2006 had been left…

Ultra-Low Energy School Case Study: Jeffrey Trail Middle School

Case Study / December 13, 2016

The Jeffrey Trail Middle School is a new school in the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD). The school was designed and constructed to meet the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) performance standards for exemplary energy and water conservation. With…

Low Energy School Case Study: Georgina Blach Intermediate School

Case Study / December 13, 2016

The Georgina Blach Intermediate School, part of the Los Altos School District, Iocated in Los Altos, California, serves 450 students in seventh and eighth grades. Facilities at the school were unimproved since their construction in 1958, 1962-63 and 1978 and…

Emerging ZNE School Case Study: George V. LeyVa Middle School Administration Building

Case Study / December 13, 2016

The George V. LeyVa Middle School Administration Building was designed to be one of the first zero net energy (ZNE) public school buildings in California as well as the first zero net emissions public school building in California. This leading…

ZNE Case Study: West Berkeley Public Library

Case Study / December 13, 2016

The West Berkeley Public Library is the first verified zero net energy (ZNE) public library in California. Completed in late 2013, the 9,400-square-foot library produces as much or more energy than it consumes on an annual basis. To reach its…

Ultra-Low Energy School Case Study: San Francisco City College Multi-Use Building

Case Study / December 13, 2016

The San Francisco City College Multi-Use Building is a pioneering project for large, low-energy facilities. At 102,000 square feet, the building is one of the largest in the United States to rely nearly entirely on natural ventilation to meet fresh…

ZNE Multifamily Case Study: zHome Multifamily Complex

Case Study / October 10, 2016

The zHome multifamily complex was the first zero net energy project of its kind in the United States. This complex is made up of 10 units and a shared community area. The design approach of the project centered on energy…

ZNE Portfolio Case Study: Gundersen Health System

Case Study / October 10, 2016

Gundersen Health System is the largest portfolio of buildings striving to reach zero net energy performance on a district wide scale in North America. The portfolio is made up of 45 new and existing buildings and spanning more than 2.5…

Savings Verification for Performance Contracting

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Washington’s Department of General Administration supervised an energy system retrofit of Spokane’s Westlake State Hospital and then was responsible for verifying the energy savings resulting from the improvements. However, when the hospital’s energy management system experienced a partial loss of…

The Runaway Building

Case Study / December 23, 2015

EZ Sim showed its versatility and its accuracy when analyzing a building with run away winter energy bills. While the building was initially modeled using a traditional engineering method, EZ Sim provided a quicker alternative to identify the nature of…

EZ SIM – Shows Bonus Energy Savings for County Office Building

Case Study / December 23, 2015

When a county building’s facility manager wanted to know if it was time to upgrade the building’s heat pumps, EZ Sim’s detective work helped to uncover more savings in more places than she bargained.

New England Regional Council of Carpenters

Case Study / December 23, 2015

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC) represents 22,000 carpenters, pile drivers, shop and mill men, and floorcoverers working in the New England states.

Gibney Family Vision Center

Case Study / December 23, 2015

The Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI), a non-profit organization founded in 1926, is the only private rehabilitation agency to offer free training, services and support to visually impaired Vermonters of all ages. VABVI offices are located…

Fidelity Bank

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Fidelity Bank is one of the oldest and continually growing independent, local community banks in Central Massachusetts. In January 2007, the bank opened its new Corporate Center and Branch in Leominster, Massachusetts. The four-story building includes office space as well…

Duxbury Bay Maritime School

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Serving more than 1,800 students annually, the not-for-profit Duxbury Bay Maritime School aims to connect the community through educational and recreational programs with its primary resource, Duxbury Bay.

Child and Family of Newport County

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Child and Family of Newport County (CF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening families and communities through services such as preschool childcare, counseling, home care for the elderly and disabled, substance abuse education, home-based child welfare, transitional housing for…

Abraham Lincoln Elementary School

Case Study / December 23, 2015

In September 2010, the Abraham Lincoln Elementary School opened its new green building, ready to accommodate 600 students. This new building includes masonry and steel construction, a 3,300 square foot state-of-the-art library and media center, a 5,700 square foot gymnasium,…

New Construction Project Directory & Case Studies

Case Study / December 23, 2015

Information about New Construction projects that have utilized Core Performance are available here and, when available, include links to case studies or project profiles.

Emerging ZNE K-12 School: Turkey Foot Middle School

Case Study / December 19, 2015

The Kenton County School District believes “schools should use less energy, demonstrate sound environmental practices and serve as a fundamental tool for learning.” Since the District had experience with a formal energy management program that saved over $2 million since…

Ultra-Low Energy Building: The Ramona

Case Study / December 19, 2015

The Ramona is a mixed-use development in the urban Pearl District of Portland, Oregon. The building hosts 138 units of affordable housing and two educational facilities. Portland Public Schools rents 13,000 SF for programs for children ages 3 to 6.…

ZNE Retail Bank Branch: TD Bank

Case Study / December 19, 2015

TD Bank has been an environmental leader since 1990. As one of the ten largest banks in the United States, they chose to move beyond LEED certification to pilot a Zero Net Energy design for a retail bank branch in…

Emerging ZNE K-12 School: Dr. David Suzuki Public School

Case Study / December 19, 2015

The Dr. David Suzuki Public School combines readily available and demonstration technologies to create a school building that serves as a living laboratory for 550 students in Windsor, Ontario. The two-story kindergarten through 8th grade school includes classrooms, a gymnasium,…

Emerging ZNE Building: Rice Fergus Miller Office and Studio

Case Study / December 19, 2015

Rice Fergus Miller breathed new life into an abandoned 1948 Sears Automotive Center and positioned their new office solidly on the path to net zero. This urban infill transformation project took a dilapidated structure that had been abandoned for 23…

ZNE School: Putney Field House

Case Study / December 19, 2015

The Putney Field House is located on a 461-acre parcel, with areas dedicated to forestry, education and agriculture. The site includes indigenous plantings and a production garden. The state-of-the art field house and wellness center was built to provide winter…

A ZNE Building: Leon County Cooperative Extension Office Building

Case Study / December 19, 2015

The mission of the Leon County Cooperative Extension is to educate the community about research performed at the University of Florida through interactive opportunities and demonstration sites. A recent retrofit of their 13,000 SF office was the perfect opportunity to…

ZNE District: Anna Maria Historic Green Village

Case Study / December 19, 2015

The Anna Maria Historic Green Village is an unusual combination of historic restoration and modern technology. Owners Mike and Lizzie Thrasher have worked diligently to preserve four 100-year old buildings and merge history with state-of-the-art green technology, all while bringing…

ZNE Museum: Exploratorium

Case Study / December 19, 2015

When the Exploratorium outgrew its old location at the Palace of Fine Arts, the City of San Francisco offered to provide Piers 15 and 17 on its historic waterfront as a larger relocation option for the science museum. After structurally…

ZNE Small Office Retrofit: Bacon Street Offices

Case Study / December 19, 2015

The Bacon Street Office project is a 4,500 SF retrofit of a single-story, 1950’s-era auto repair shop into a high performance office for the firm ARCHITECTS hannah gabriel wells. Through creative design strategies, renewable energy generation and with support from…

ZNE Training Center: Zero Net Energy Center

Case Study / December 19, 2015

When it came time to upgrade their training facility, the IBEW Local 595 and NECA chapters targeted net zero energy. They wanted to demonstrate that this goal was achievable and train their electrical contractors on the latest, cutting-edge energy efficiency…

ZNE Office: David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Case Study / December 19, 2015

When the Packard Foundation started thinking about building a new headquarters, they wanted to make sure the final product reflected the organization’s values. These include conserving the Earth’s natural resources over the long-term, providing a comfortable and healthy space that…

Ultra-Low Energy High Rise Office: The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) Headquarters

Case Study / December 19, 2015 / Existing Buildings

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) headquarters is an ultralow-energy, Class A office building that pushes the norm in sustainable design. Located in downtown San Francisco, the 13-story building houses more than 900 employees who were previously located in…

Ultra-Low Energy Multifamily Residence: La Valentina North Townhomes

Case Study / December 19, 2015 / Existing Buildings

The La Valentine North Townhome project is the result of a partnership between SMUD and the owner/developer of the project, Domus Development LLC. The 18-unit affordable multifamily development is a research and demonstration project in SMUD’s Townhouse Home of the…

ZNE K-12 School: Redding School for the Arts

Case Study / December 19, 2015 / Existing Buildings

Redding School for the Arts in Northern California connects education and arts for K-8 students in a community of 90,000 people. The school was originally created in August 1999 in response to the rapid decline of arts programs in local…

ZNE Small Office Retrofit: DPR Construction

Case Study / December 19, 2015 / Existing Buildings

Acting as owner, designer and contractor, DPR rehabbed a near-obsolete, 1984 building into a vibrant, zero-net energy multi-tenant office. DPR’s new 24,000 SF tenant improvement includes an open office space along with 11 conference rooms, a large gathering area and…


Case Study / June 6, 2012

In March 2007, 31 staff at StopWaste.Org moved into a renovated building in downtown Oakland, California. Their goal was to transform a dilapidated, 14,000 SF, two-story structure into an attractive and environmentally responsible building. Built in 1926, the building is…

Case Studies of Applications for FirstView Software

Case Study / May 21, 2012

Several organizations and companies have utilized the FirstView™ software to analyze building energy performance. Some have relied on FirstView software for diagnostics to lead them to potential areas for improvement, while others have used FirstView software as a way to…

FirstView and USGBC Building Performance

Case Study / May 18, 2012

NBI's FirstView™ software and services have been used on over 200 LEED buildings involved in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Building Performance Partnership (BPP). BPP is a voluntary program designed to improve the performance of green buildings by providing a…

Lovejoy Building Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

In Portland, OR a retrofit of the existing load-bearing brick structure required a major seismic upgrade in this building. The architects used this as an opportunity for an integrated response to advanced structural upgrades, enhanced user thermal comfort and improved…

Johnson Braund Design Group Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

Johnson Braund Design Group (JBDG) in Seattle was able to dramatically improve their building’s energy performance, reduce operating costs and provide a test ground for energy-efficient design strategies to influence its clients. The JBDG Building now uses 69% less energy…

Christman Building Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Christman in Lansing, MI is one of the few Triple LEED Platinum buildings designated by the USGBC LEED Program. The building is located in a climate zone comparable to Montana, northeast Washington and eastern Idaho, and its age and…

Aventine Case Study

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Aventine in LaJolla, CA is a certified LEED Existing Building Platinum and has an Energy Star rating of 100, the highest possible, and uses just 23 kBtus/sf, 75% less than the national average for offices. Retrofits addressed high-energy loads…

1525 Wilson Boulevard

Case Study / April 27, 2012

This all-electric building in Rossyln, VA used a combination of energy efficiency strategies, including replacing HVAC and lighting systems and providing tenant education. Energy use was reduced by 35% in just one year, resulting in savings over $250,000 on energy…

Mercy Corps Headquarters

Case Study / April 27, 2012

This building in Portland, OR is 50% historic renovation and 50% new construction. The information in this profile addresses both the renovated and the new parts of the building. Pursuing energy efficiency supports their mission of sustainability, and lower operating…

Home On The Range

Case Study / April 27, 2012

This Project Profile builds on a case study prepared by USGBC, including data on energy performance for one year, and provides updated owner feedback and energy use data. The actual energy use of the building in Billings, MT, is 46…

Beardmore Building

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Beardmore in Priest River, Idaho has the distinction of being one of the few buildings in the country that is both LEED Gold certified and on the National Register of Historic Places. The project demonstrates a very successful renovation…

200 Market Building

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The 200 Market building in Portland, OR, has made continuous energy retrofits and system improvements. These efforts have moved the building from an ENERGY STAR score of 79 in 2006 to a score of 98 (out of 100) in 2010,…

Joseph Vance Building

Case Study / April 27, 2012

Since its acquisition, significant investments have been made to renovate this building in Seattle to improve energy efficiency and environmental performance, as well as tenant experience. Occupancy increased from 68% to 96% and has seen increased rents, tenant retention and…

Alliance Center

Case Study / April 27, 2012

The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado launched a project titled “Modeling a Net Zero Future: Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings” to explore options that will enable it to approach a zero-net energy goal. Several documents developed for the project are referenced…

A Zero Energy Building: IDeAs Z2 Design Facility

Case Study / April 26, 2012

IDeAs’ new headquarters in San Jose, CA was designed to meet 100% of its net energy requirements using renewable energy from photovoltaics.

A Zero Energy-Capable Building: Jane D’Aza Convent, House of Formation

Case Study / April 25, 2012

This series of smaller buildings in San Rafael, CA reflects a contemporary vision that includes a strong commitment to environmental responsibility.

A Zero Energy-Capable Building: Wampanoag Tribal Headquarters

Case Study / April 25, 2012

This building serves as an administrative, educational, and social center for the Wampanoag tribe, which has inhabited Martha’s Vineyard for hundreds of years. The design approach embodies the traditional Native American belief system of interdependence and respect for nature.

A Zero Energy Building: Omega Center for Sustainable Living

Case Study / April 25, 2012

Achieving net-zero energy required a design that eliminated waste and maximized the use of renewable energy resources. This building in Rhinebeck, NY is purposely compact, organized to harvest daylight, solar energy, and cooling breezes to reduce energy needs

A Zero Energy-Capable Building: Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies

Case Study / April 25, 2012

For this two-story building in Cupertino, CA the design process moved through six steps to responsibly approach carbon neutral operation and roughly track increasing cost effectiveness.

A Zero Energy-Capable Building: Gilman Ordway Building at the Woods Hole Research Center

Case Study / April 25, 2012

In Falmouth, MA a 19th-century summer home is respectfully adapted with the addition of a contemporary office, laboratory, and common spaces. The integration of passive-solar and energy-conservation strategies, optimal performance, and onsite renewable power generation make this building 83% more…

A Zero Energy-Capable Building: Plano Elementary School

Case Study / April 25, 2012

Plano Elementary School serves 435 students in Warren County, Kentucky. The building includes 32 classrooms, 14 offices, six resource centers, media center, gym, server room, and cafeteria with kitchen. There are 20 public schools in this district and five of…

A Zero Energy Building: Leslie Shao-Ming Sun Field Station at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

Case Study / April 25, 2012

One of the explicit energy goals for this building was to achieve net-zero carbon emissions on a recurring annual basis. The most significant strategies employed to maximize energy conservation focused on the building’s cooling, heating, and lighting systems. Due to…

A Zero Energy-Capable Building: Doyle Conservation Center

Case Study / April 25, 2012

This training facility showcases the organization’s conservation activities. The LEED Gold rating reflects the mission of the Trustees of Reservations, which is “To preserve for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts.”

A Case For Deep Savings: 11 Case studies of Deep Energy Retrofits

Case Study / August 23, 2011

For NEEA’s BetterBricks program, New Buildings Institute investigated* 11 examples of energy retrofits in existing commercial buildings that, on average, use 50% less energy than the national average – most with an energy use intensity (EUI) of less than 40…

Measured Performance Case Study: Classroom & Office Building, UC Merced

Case Study / January 26, 2010

The Classroom and Office Building (COB) examined in this case study is one of five buildings in the initial phase of development at UC Merced. This case study examines the actual post-occupancy performance of COB in relation to design elements…

Measured Performance Case Study: Science & Engineering Building 1, UC Merced

Case Study / January 26, 2010

Science & Engineering (S&E) Building I is one of five buildings in the initial phase of development at UC Merced. This case study examines the actual post-occupancy energy performance of S&E in relation to design elements and objectives.

Tools & Guides

There are no tools and guides for Zero Energy. Please see our other tools and guides below.

20% Stretch Code Provisions

Guideline / February 14, 2019 / Energy Codes

The 20% Stretch Code Provisions describe a set of code strategies that represent a 20% performance improvement for commercial buildings over the ASHRAE 90.1-2013 code baseline (and approximately similar savings over the IECC 2015 baseline) that can be adopted by…

40% Stretch Energy Standard

Guideline / February 14, 2019 / Energy Codes

The 40% Stretch Energy Standard is a set of stretch code strategies that target 40% better efficiency in commercial buildings than current national model energy codes. Stretch codes, also called reach codes, provide an opportunity to introduce advanced practices in…


FirstView / October 15, 2018 / Benchmarking & Feedback

FirstView is a software tool that enables building owners and designers to extract more targeted and useful energy performance information from basic data inputs. The software takes in basic building data and one year’s energy usage and uses multivariable regression…

Moving Energy Codes Forward: A Guide for Cities and States

Guideline / June 4, 2018 / Energy Codes

In cities, the building sector is a major contributor to carbon emissions and energy use accounting for up to 40% of the total energy consumed. Some jurisdictions may have climate policies and climate action plans that set targets and lay…

Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI) and zEPI Jurisdictional Scores

Online Tool / May 16, 2018 / Energy Codes

The zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI) provides a scale for measuring commercial building energy performance and represents a fundamental shift in measurement of building efficiency as it sets energy targets for actual energy consumption rather than using a predictive energy…

ZNE for State Buildings

Guideline / April 12, 2018

The ZNE Project Guide for State Buildings was created to provide California state agencies a step by step guide and checklist for pursuing zero net energy (ZNE) for new buildings. Project managers can use this resource to gain stakeholder support,…

Residential Zero Net Energy Guide

Guideline / April 10, 2018

This guide focuses on the general elements of ZNE homes and provides links to the specific details and requirements of Title 24 (energy code) and Home Energy Rating System (HERS) verification (field verified and tested).

Community Strategic Energy Management

Guideline / January 11, 2018 / Existing Buildings

Over 400 Mayors across the United State have made formal commitments to the Paris Climate Accord. Others have signed onto the 2030 Challenge and/or the Better Buildings Challenge. To meet these goals, an effective strategy to track, manage, and improve…

Model Stretch Code Provisions for a 20% Performance Improvement in New Commercial Construction

Guideline / November 6, 2017 / Energy Codes

This summary document describes a set of code strategies that represent a 20% performance improvement for commercial buildings over the ASHRAE 90.1-2013 code baseline (and approximately similar savings over the IECC 2015 baseline).

Outcome-Based Codes for Cities

Guideline / November 1, 2017

Adjustments and modifications to the built environment provide significant opportunities for meeting energy reduction goals and objectives, since buildings comprise 40% of our nation’s primary energy consumption. This document provides jurisdictions with a new approach to shift their focus towards…

ZE Schools Engagement

Guideline / October 13, 2017

Effective communication is critical to successfully engage your audience and ultimately achieve your goal of designing, constructing, and operating a zero energy (ZE) school. The Zero Energy Schools Stakeholder Engagement and Messaging Guide will help users to address key questions…

Zero Energy Project Guide

Guideline / October 11, 2017

A process for planning, designing, constructing, and operating your new zero energy building. Zero Energy Project Guide combines the steps that successful zero energy (ZE) building teams implement with ZE tools and resources. The guide outlines the importance of gaining…

Zero Energy Schools Charrette Toolkit

Guideline / October 11, 2017

NBI’s Zero Energy Integrated Design Charrette Toolkit for Schools provides you with materials to help plan and lead a successful charrette for your school project. It can be used for almost any team aiming for high levels of energy efficiency…

ZNE Charrette Toolkit

Guideline / October 4, 2017

NBI’s ZNE Charrette Toolkit provides you with materials to help plan and lead a successful charrette. It can be used for almost any team aiming for high levels of energy efficiency or sustainability whether actively pursuing ZNE or not. The…

Multifamily Building Guide

Guideline / September 6, 2017

A new Multifamily Guide offers an advanced standard that addresses the issues faced when applying building code to multifamily buildings. This single prescriptive standard delivers savings regardless of whether the project is subject to the residential or commercial versions of…

Getting to Zero: ZNE Project Guide

Guideline / August 30, 2017

Getting to Zero: ZNE Project Guide combines the steps that successful ZNE building teams implement with ZNE tools and resources. The guide outlines the importance of gaining stakeholder awareness, setting energy goals and targets, thoughtful team selection, finance and incentive…

Quantifying the Water-Energy Nexus at the Building Project Scale

Online Tool / June 1, 2017 / Water-Energy Nexus

NBI has laid the groundwork to connect the water-energy nexus at the power plant with the energy consumed at the building level. With the support of existing research and funding from the Edwards Mother Earth Foundation, NBI has created a…


Online Tool / February 21, 2017 / Existing Buildings

Introducing SMARTScale... In 2014, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a grant to NBI partner Ecology Action to create and demonstrate a nationally scalable model targeted to utility and public benefits efficiency program operators for delivering deep retrofits in…

About NBI

Factsheet / February 7, 2017

Five Steps to Net Zero

Guideline / February 2, 2017 / Zero Net Energy (ZNE)

This guide is an introduction to how architects and engineers can help clients upgrade their existing buildings to be ZNE through a Deep Energy Retrofit combined with renewable energy sources. A Deep Energy Retrofit is an existing building retrofit that…

Daylighting Pattern Guide

Online Tool / December 20, 2015 / Daylighting

The Daylighting Pattern Guide is a free, interactive tool that helps design teams incorporate proven daylighting strategies into commercial building projects for substantial reductions in lighting power consumption and overall building energy use.

HVAC Primer

Guideline / December 19, 2015 / HVAC

This newly updated primer describes energy savings opportunities and context for packaged rooftop units (RTUs) for utility energy managers and their trade allies. RTUs are ubiquitous in commercial spaces but are also a difficult market to reach. Analysis shows many…


Guideline / December 19, 2015

COMNET is a quality assurance initiative to standardize building energy modeling, by creating consistent baselines relative to various energy codes and standards. COMNET extends and supports existing systems for assessing and rating the energy efficiency of new commercial and multifamily…

Zero Net Energy Communications Toolkit

Online Tool / December 19, 2015

These toolkit items were developed by New Buildings Institute and Resource Media with the generous support of foundation funding to advance zero energy building goals in California. These resources represent the foundational pieces of the ZNE Communications Toolkit; however additional…

New Construction Guide

Guideline / December 12, 2015

Increasing energy code stringency and owner demand for higher efficiency in buildings are challenging design teams to deliver high performance without adding costs. The New Construction Guide offers a comprehensive approach to new commercial construction projects that achieves efficiencies up…

External Zero Net Energy Resources

Factsheet / December 3, 2015

In addition to our Status Update research report, ZNE communications toolkit and case studies, NBI has collected a set of external resources related to zero net energy. Examples of programs, policy documents or other research supporting zero energy-capable construction are…

Zero Net Energy Technology Application Guide: Radiant Heating And Cooling + Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems

Guideline / November 4, 2014

Zero Net Energy (ZNE) is the future, and in a growing number of places the present, of building design and energy policy. A growing strategy to get to ZNE is to separate the building’s heating/cooling from the ventilation/dehumidification. Design firms…

Zero Net Energy Technology Application Guide: Luminaire Level Lighting Control

Guideline / November 4, 2014

Improved lighting efficiency has long been a major strategy to reduce the energy use in buildings. These savings have traditionally come from improved efficiency of lamps and ballasts. Today, deep energy reductions and Zero Net Energy (ZNE) are possible by…

Zero Net Energy Technology Application Guide: Indirect Evaporative Cooling

Guideline / November 3, 2014

With Zero Net Energy (ZNE) a growing building design and energy policy trend, design firms and owners are striving to meet heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) loads with optimum comfort and minimal energy. Indirect Evaporative Cooling (IEC) offers a…

FirstView for Multifamily Buildings

Online Tool / May 27, 2014

Multifamily buildings offer a largely untapped opportunity for improving energy efficiency. Despite tremendous potential for savings, the multifamily market is hard to penetrate due to complexities in market structure and split incentives. More and more attention is being paid to…

Core Performance Provides a Path to High Performance Buildings

Guideline / February 28, 2013

The Core Performance Guide is a prescriptive path that was first published in 2007. Following this building guidance will result in buildings that are more energy efficient than conventional buildings.

About New Buildings Institute (NBI)

Guideline / February 27, 2013

New Buildings Institute (NBI) is a nonprofit organization working to improve the energy performance of commercial buildings. Learn more in this print friendly factsheet.

Plug Load Best Practices Guide

Guideline / July 17, 2012

The Plug Load Best Practices Guide outlines no-cost and low-cost measures for reducing the energy and costs associated with plug loads, or any device that is plugged into a building’s electrical system—think computers, printers and data servers. The guide, based…