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The Push for Net Zero

In the architectural and construction world, net zero design is the latest buzzword. Since 2012, the number of verified net zero energy buildings or those targeting net zero energy has more than doubled, from 60 in 2012 to 160 in 2013, according to the New Buildings Institute's recent study, 2014 Getting to Zero Status Update: A look at the projects, policies and programs driving net zero energy performance in commercial buildings.

The amount of information and coverage of net zero projects has skyrocketed, and the International Living Future Institute began offering a Net Zero Energy Building Certification that verifies buildings that rely on energy conservation and on-site renewables to achieve all of its heating, cooling and energy needs.

Additionally, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) development committee recently approved a proposal that would add the first-ever outcome-based compliance path to the 2015 IgCC. The outcome-based compliance path would set targets for a buildings' actual energy use, and determine compliance through its achievement of that target once in operation.

If you Google "net zero buildings," there are more reports of communities and designers looking to build buildings that target net zero energy. It's no wonder that at this month's AIA Convention in Chicago, there are three sessions dealing with net zero energy. One looks at how to design net zero energy buildings in different climate zones, while the other two sessions look at the fundamentals of net zero residential construction and various strategies for achieving net zero energy.

With all that's been going on with net zero energy lately, Metal Architecture took the time to speak with five industry leaders about net zero design trends and where net zero is headed in the future in this month's Net Zero Roundtable.

Also in this issue, we take a look at the unique geometric façade of the Francis Gregory Library in Washington, D.C. Situated on the edge of where a Civil War-era fort once stood, the LEED Gold, 22,500-square-foot library stands out from your average community library.

We also highlight a few seminars that may be of interest to readers heading to Chicago for the 2014 AIA Convention. If you're there, be sure to stop by our booth, #4645, to say hi. We'd love to chat if you have a free minute.

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