Building Energy Efficiency
The ZERO Code is a building energy standard that includes both prescriptive and performance paths for building energy efficiency compliance (based on existing standards that are widely used by municipalities and building professionals worldwide) and is supported by compliance tools and simulation software.
Complying with the ZERO Code entails first meeting the minimum prescriptive or performance requirements for building energy efficiency defined by ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016. As part of a standardized and predictable process to continue to advance energy efficiency, new standards that exceed ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016 have been incorporated into the ZERO Code, such as the 2018 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2017. Newer versions of ASHRAE 90.1, 189.1 and the IGCC will be incorporated as they are published. Once the minimum requirements of the standard are met, then the on-site and/or off-site renewable energy is calculated to achieve a zero-net-carbon building design (access the Energy Calculator).
The ZERO Code for California incorporates 2019 California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (BEES) and also includes prescriptive and performance paths for building energy efficiency compliance.
The ZERO Code offers code adaptable language and a flexible approach for incorporating renewable energy, both through on-site generation and/or off-site procurement. By establishing a flexible approach, the ZERO Code is applicable to all new commercial and institutional buildings, and mid- to high-rise housing, including buildings with limited on-site renewable energy generating capacity (e.g. buildings in dense urban environments).
A technical support document is available that describes several potential options for off-site procurement of renewable energy within the context of codes, and presents a process for evaluating and assigning a weight to each procurement method.
ZERO Code – Software
The ZERO Code is supported by Energy Calculators that ease the implementation process and reduce errors when applying the prescriptive compliance path. An Application Program Interface (API) for the national and international ZERO Code version of the software has been developed, enabling the software to be implemented as a website or an application for smart phones and tablets. Ultimately this approach will save years and valuable resources that would otherwise be spent on developing new compliance tools and mechanisms.
ZERO Code – Adoption
The ZERO Code can be incentivized or required by adopting jurisdictions. To download the ZERO Code and Technical Support Document (and ZERO Code for California documents), visit the ZERO CODE page.