NZEH Definitions and Performance Metrics Project
On March 31, 2011 the Net-Zero Energy Home (NZEH) Coalition published an Industry Implementation Plan (IIP), in which it was agreed that a common language was required before embarking upon any of the other efforts identified within the IIP. So the key starting point for the NZEH Coalition was the development of industry endorsed net-zero energy and net-zero energy ready definitions with quantifiable performance metrics.
As the only industry association in North America focused specifically on net-zero energy homes, the NZEH Coalition is uniquely positioned to lead this work. The Coalition has attracted an experienced group of individuals from diverse industries into its membership. This helps in both the operation of the organization and as a deep resource for consultation.
Key industry specialists from across North America were recruited to form the Project Committee, including builders with experience in high performance homes. Individuals were selected for their knowledge in the processes and metrics of existing initiatives (such as EQuilibrium, R-2000, Super-E, Energy Star, Passivhaus, Active House, LEED for Homes, Built Green, the National Green Building Standard, etc.) with the intent to use the successful aspects and avoid the less successful aspects. Geographically diverse builders experienced in NZE home construction were chosen to ensure regional industry needs were appropriately considered.
The Project Committee members were engaged in very comprehensive discussions using a consensus based approach. Although the quality of the discussions and input was unparalleled, arriving at a consensus on all issues was not possible during the short time frame of this project. However, excellent progress was made and the result of this project provides important information that will support the continuation of this developmental work.
This report identifies definitions for both net-zero energy (NZE) and net-zero energy ready (NZER) homes as well as performance metrics recommendations as derived from input from the project committee and industry survey. Additionally, the project outcomes section includes recommendations on verification methods, optimization tools, and how the deep energy retrofit industry might also be included in these efforts. The results of the market research survey questions are also in this section.
The next step that the Coalition will be undertaking is to establish a Technical Committee with key industry stakeholders to complete the development of a technical specification for net-zero energy homes in the North American marketplace. Several additional key actions have been identified by the Project Committee and through the industry survey for the Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition to tackle. To direct the ongoing development of best practice tools and solutions, input from industry will be sought using a collaborative and transparent approach.