Design Groups Agree to Pursue Zero-Energy Buildings

The American Institute of Architects; the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers; the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America; and the U.S. Green Building Council agreed last week on a plan for net-zero-energy buildings. "This agreement allows the building design sector to move forward with designing buildings that use substantially less energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create spaces that are healthy and comfortable," said these four and other groups involved in the effort.

The ultimate goal is carbon-neutral buildings by 2030. The building sector accounts for almost half of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions annually, which is what prompted the groups to work on the issue. The baseline starting point for their common goals is the national average energy consumption of existing U.S. commercial buildings, as reported by the 2003 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (a set of whole-building energy use measurements gathered by DOE's Energy Information Administration).

"ASHRAE is excited to work with the various organizations that have participated in developing this agreement," said Terry Townsend, ASHRAE'S president. "Collectively, our programs, initiatives, and goals now have an agreed-upon baseline to operate from in our common quest to achieve a sustainable future. The challenge is now upon each organization to make good on their commitments."

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