What home for this small
planet would John Muir,
Clara Barton, and
John Kenneth Galbraith build?
A Zero Energy apartment
building, of course.
“Ann Edminster is a true pioneer in the green homes field: based on her own hands-on experience, she spots trends and opportunities years ahead of others and is there waiting when the ‘leaders’ arrive.”
The American Institute of Architects California Council recently published the Zero Net Energy Primer. I had the privilege of developing the Primer for them under a contract with PG&E. The Primer (if I do say so myself) is a handsome, concise, and accessible guide — a mere 24 pages, including lots of pictures of ZNE homes of all flavors (small, large, single- and multifamily, luxury and affordable). The AIACC’s goal in publishing the document is to ease the task facing California architects with the roll-out of the State’s 2019 energy code (“Title 24”). The new code will go into effect January 1, 2020 and — while it doesn’t quite get us to ZNE — represents a significant advance in residential energy performance, and the first time that homes will be required to install renewable energy systems. (Of course, there will be byes for projects where it’s simply not feasible to install them.) The Primer will, I hope, help architects get a handle on the ZNE requirements ahead of the looming 2020 deadline.
I took the plunge into green building in the early 90s and felt completely at home in that pool from the first dive! Here was the convergence of my architecture background, my lifelong passion to protect the natural world, and my insatiable drive for order, efficiency, and the elimination of waste of all kinds.
After completing each major project, I’ve asked myself, “What’s next? What needs a big push now to help steer the building industry along a more sustainable course?”
In recent years, I saw zero energy building design as the most powerful vector for reducing building sector carbon emissions. The field is rapidly evolving, I’m seeing notable progress in
acceptance and implementation, and new
opportunities are continually emerging.
We now know what it takes to build
zero-energy homes, but zero-energy
communities pose new and
fascinating challenges – both political
and technical. Government agencies and
nonprofits across North America are working
on creative solutions, and I get to play!
What could be better?!