Zero-Energy Buildings On The Rise

In the quest for greater energy efficiency, the focus on buildings intensifies. This concentrated awareness is understandable as residential and nonresidential buildings account for a large portion of society’s total energy consumption.

With the emphasis on growth, the market for products and services to increase building energy efficiency also expands. Taking this trend to the extreme is the concept of zero-energy buildings (ZEBs), which consume only as much energy over the course of year as they generate. According to one recent study, the worldwide market for ZEB is poised to experience rapid expansion.

In September, Boulder, Colo.-based market research firm Navigant Research released its study, “Zero Energy Buildings,” which looks at factors driving the ZEB market and makes revenue projections for the next several decades.

Navigant points out that commercial and residential buildings account for 35–45 percent of energy consumption, which helps explain the movement toward ZEBs. Despite the obvious benefits, Navigant asserts that government regulation will be the driving force behind the growth of ZEBs. The growing popularity of energy efficiency, caused by what Navigant refers to as “shifting social views,” will be only a secondary driver.

According to the report, some of the most common features of ZEBs are photovoltaic panels on the roof; energy-efficient lighting (such as LEDs); advanced glazing and smart glass; advanced wall insulation; energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; and energy management systems.

The report projects most of the growth to occur in Europe, where the European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will drive expansion, and in California, where the Title 24 building code will do the same.

Navigant projects ZEB revenue to grow from $629.3 million in 2014 to $1.4 trillion by 2035.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at

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