California Prepares For Zero Net Energy Housing Mandate

October 13, 2016

With high-density fiberglass insulation, rigid foam boards that form a thermal barrier, generous use of a special sealant, and rooftop solar panels, new Zero Net Energy homes could have a monthly energy bill of $0.

MarketWatch detailed California’s plan for the year 2020, where all new residential buildings will be required to meet a Zero Net Energy code. These houses should consume no more energy than they generate. By 2030, the mandate is set to expand to all new commercial buildings.

The state has already clamped down on emissions from smokestacks, mandated more electric vehicles and demanded utilities prepare to get half their power from renewable sources. But all those measures still don’t get the state where it wants to be. So it has doubled down on building efficiency, a tantalizing target: Residential buildings currently account for about 32% of electricity usage across the state; commercial buildings consume 37%.

ZNE could be costly, though. An estimate says that compliance with ZNE could raise the price of a $300,000 home by $23,000.

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