By Diana Nash. Diana is the Client Solutions Consultant with Energy Sciences. The firm helps clients meet energy challenges with practical solutions that reduce waste and increase net operating income.

For an idea or trend to gain momentum, something needs to happen. The concept needs to reach its tipping point. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, he explains that the tipping point is “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” Perhaps with the current pandemic and climate change issues, Zero Net Energy may finally reach its tipping point. Renewable energy projects and energy efficient buildings have begun to pop up everywhere. Now is the time to take it a step further towards ZNE or ZNE ready buildings.  With help from funding mechanisms like Michigan Saves (low or no interest loans for energy efficient equipment) and PACE, it is easier than ever to build ZNE or ZNE ready buildings.

There are increasingly compelling reasons for developers, building owners, corporations, and governmental entities to pursue Zero Net Energy Building Technology for both retrofits and new construction. An important part of a Zero Net Energy building is web-enabled controls for lighting, HVAC and even continuous commissioning to reduce energy and monitor usage remotely. The pandemic has certainly created a tipping point regarding customer requirements for web-enabled energy and air quality monitoring, particularly since facilities engineering and maintenance staff are often working remotely.

The Zero Net Energy Building value proposition is multi-faceted. It can create benefits for the building owner and the surrounding community. This groundbreaking project provides the building owner with energy savings, marketing and branding opportunities, increased market value of the property and increased capitalization rates, better indoor air quality, and community engagement. The community can receive valuable training opportunities on sought-after skills and these projects create jobs for the design and construction industry. We have reached a Tipping Point so let’s work together to spread Net Zero Energy like wildfire!

Sign up for our Zero Net Energy Webinar on October 7th to learn more about this innovative design strategy.