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Next Big Thing: Zero net energy homes

BY HBSDealer Staff

Up until fairly recently, the concept of a zero net energy home — a home that produces as much energy as it consumes — seemed fairly hypothetical.

But all of that is changing. Even the Department of Energy has changed the name of its Builders Challenge program to "DOE Zero Energy Ready Home" from "DOE Challenge Home." A test model via the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) met its goal of net-zero consumption in 2014 — with surplus energy of 491 kWh.

Now, it appears that North America is leading the charge for the proliferation of these homes in the near future.

According to Navigant Research, North America will lead the market from 2015 to 2025, though Europe and Asia Pacific are also expected to see decent growth as they follow through with initiatives and energy-efficient building codes.

“California is leading the drive toward ZNEHs worldwide with its goal of 100% of newly constructed homes to be ZNE beginning in 2020,” said Neil Strother, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “However, other states are also beginning to take small steps toward residential energy efficiency and ZNEHs.”

Europe and Asia Pacific are both, in fact, expected to grow quickly over the next decade, even though they make up a small portion of the market.

For example, ZNEH units in Europe are expected to grow from 185 in 2015 to more than 1,500 in 2025 at a CAGR of 23.4%.

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