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ICEF 2nd. Annual Meeting Summary: Concurrent Session - Zero Energy Building

Posted by ICEF Secretariat August 27, 2015

The buildings sector is the largest energy-consuming sectors, accounting for over one-third of final energy consumption globally, and as such it is a huge source of CO2 emissions. Therefore, efforts to promote Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB)/Positive Energy Buildings (PEB) have been accelerating worldwide. In this session, technological innovation required for the realization of ZEB/PEB will be discussed. Following this, barriers that prevent the diffusion of ZEB/PEB, and the possible countermeasure policies will be highlighted.

ICEF2015 Program





Jane Henley, Senior Advisor, U.S. Green Building Council

Developing a scalable, financially viable model for the transformation of our global built environment is a crucial component of the climate change puzzle. Due to the outsized impact that the building sector has on climate change, zero-energy buildings hold enormous potential in terms of limiting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our reliance on centralized energy grids. ZEB requires us to integrate the systems of energy, buildings, storage, generation and distribution to get maximum benefit.

As we increase our focus on carbon reduction, we must be mindful that our single-minded focus on energy, does not trade off against broader goals that drive the future proofing of our building stock. A sustainable ZEB building means that factors such as human health, water and transport are not forgotten in our quest to reduce carbon. As we slowly transform our built environment, building codes and voluntary rating systems such as LEED and CASBEE need to continue emphasizing these larger principles of integrated design.

Embedding the concept of zero-energy within this broader framework, ensures that our built environment continues to serve us well in our rapidly changing world. As we spend upward of 95% of our time in built environments, these spaces can promote greater awareness with consumers, and minimize risk by future proofing these assets for investors.


Amory B. Lovins, Cofounder and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

Zero- or net-positive-energy buildings are increasingly required by law, policy, prudence, or customer demand. Using building-integrated, add-on, or nearby photovoltaics or other electricity sources, thermally passive buildings can achieve attractively low cost if they are designed or retrofitted to be very energy-efficient. A novel design method called “integrative design” ( and has proven in >1,000 buildings the ability to make very large energy savings often cost less than small or no savings. This entails optimizing buildings as whole systems for multiple benefits; using radical efficiency to shrink or eliminate HVAC systems whose saved capex buys the efficiency; starting savings downstream; doing the right steps in the right order at the right time; and counting costs by the building, not by the component. This approach has yielded ~90–100% HVAC savings in climates from tropical to subarctic at roughly zero marginal cost. Integrative design’s many obstacles are convertible into business opportunities, but this requires leadership, diplomacy, patience, and meticulous attention to detail.