Architects and engineers loan insight into the future of sustainability certification

by / Wednesday, 06 March 2013 / Published in Green Business use images of nature, children and active adults to convey the sustainable goals associated with their certification programs. Recently a panel of experts sat down to discuss one such certification – Net Zero.

As people become more aware of the sustainability challenges facing our environment companies and government organizations have come up with new was reward, measure and encourage green constructions. One such organization is the Living Future Institute which runs that Living Building Challenge to recognizes achievements in sustainable building. The challenge awards three levels of certification: Full Certification, Petal Recognition or Net Zero Energy Building Certification.

According to, a panel of experts recently sat down to discuss ways to improve future Net Zero buildings. Living Future writes of these projects, “Net Zero Energy is quickly becoming a sought after goal for many buildings around the globe – each relies on exceptional energy conservation and then on-site renewables to meet all of its heating, cooling and electricity needs.”

Currently a Net Zero Building must:

  • Control growth by limiting “sprawled development”
  • Use solar, wind or other alternative forms of energy production so that, “One hundred percent of the building’s energy needs on a net annual basis must be supplied by on-site renewable energy.”
  • Not impede other projects from achieving Net Zero status
  • Be a educational and aesthetic example that others developers will want to emulate

he panel consisted of architects and engineers who had worked on successful Net Zero certified  projects. They met in San Francisco in late February to deal with the question: “So where do they see untapped potential in the next generation of Net Zero buildings?” explains.

Their answer seems to be occupant behavior (be in residential or commercial). writes, “To these panelists, many of whom collaborated on Net Zero project teams together, paying more attention to the occupant means paying attention to plug loads. That’s the amount of energy consumed by devices plugged into electrical sockets.”

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