The Case for Zero Energy Buildings
The majority of our energy comes from fossil fuel generation—oil, coal, and natural gas—resources that are both limited and responsible for releasing CO2 into our atmosphere. In order to mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change, we need to reduce the use of fossil fuels in our energy generation. Moving forward, that strategy requires both swapping fossil fuel generation with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, as well as greatly improving the energy efficiency of our lives.
Buildings of all types are responsible for 40% of all of our energy use, using nearly 75% of our electric generation. As we work to provide alternative energy sources, we need to simultaneously reduce our energy consumption. The obvious choice is to focus on the energy buildings use, since we all need the security of buildings for shelter and work in our daily lives.
Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.
— IPCC SPECIAL REPORT: GLOBAL WARMING OF 1.5 ºC
In 2017, we realized that more needed to be done in order to advance home construction practices in Oregon. We gathered several like-minded nonprofits to form the Zero Energy Ready Oregon coalition specifically focused on advancing Oregon building codes in alignment with Executive Order 17-20. The goal is to mandate that all new homes in Oregon are built to zero energy ready standards by 2030. Visit the ZERO Coalition website to learn more.
Earth Advantage Zero Energy Certification
As part of our commitment to advance zero energy homes we have created our own zero energy and zero energy ready home certifications. We work with builders to find cost-effective strategies through thoughtful design review and energy modeling, to create zero energy ready and zero energy homes.