Net-zero energy homes are built to produce as much energy as they consume, through airtight construction of foundations, roofs, walls, and windows. And they're becoming more popular.
Currently, the U.S. has roughly 5,000 net-zero energy single-family homes built, and CNBC reports that the State of California could add 100,000 per year, as it implements its 2020 building code including rooftop solar installations for buildings up to three stories tall. Jacob Corvidae, a principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, says, "California by itself is one of the largest economies in the world," its activities bring with them national economic ramifications. "They're going to be figuring out ways to make solar cheaper and that scale will help bring down the cost."
In December, California instituted a new requirement that calls for most new homes and multi-family residential buildings up to three stories high to include solar rooftop panels beginning in 2020. Depending on the specifics of the design and the residence's energy consumption pattern, solar panels could produce all the electricity needed for the home. The state's ultimate goal is to produce net-zero energy homes that reduce the state's carbon footprint and make buildings energy self-sufficient.