This paper introduces a classification system for net-zero energy buildings (ZEB) based on the renewable sources a building uses.
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First costs, or capital costs, for energy efficiency strategies in office buildings are often a primary barrier to realizing high-performance buildings with 50% or greater energy savings. Historically, the industry has been unable to reach deep energy savings because of a reliance on energy cost savings and simple payback analysis alone to justify investments. A more comprehensive and integrated cost justification and capital cost control approach is needed. By implementing innovative procurement and delivery strategies, integrated design principles and cost tradeoffs, life cycle cost justifications, and streamlined construction methods, first cost barriers can be overcome. It is now possible to attain marketable, high-performance office buildings that achieve LEED Platinum and reach net zero energy goals at competitive whole building first costs, as illustrated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s and National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s latest high-performance office building, the Research Support Facility (RSF) on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory campus in Golden, Colorado.