Regulations will spur Europe to lead in zero energy buildings, while in North America, the near-term focus will be on building energy-management systems (BEMS). BEMS is being installed by owners of existing buildings who want to lower their energy costs, a move that has a fairly quick payback. A Pike Research study pegs the global BEMS market at about $1.9 billion globally in 2011. That’s expected to increase to $6 billion by 2020.
The initial investment to build a net-zero building can be much higher than installing BEMS, and the payback longer, so government regulations and incentives are needed to speed up net-zero development. By 2019, all new public buildings in the European Union will be required to come close to net-zero, and all building construction will have to meet the standard by 2021. The EU is still working on some of the standard’s fine print, and there is a lobby that wants the union to go all the way to net-zero.
Without those types of rules in the United States, owners will find it harder to justify the premium to build net-zero buildings, but installing BEMS, even in existing buildings, will soon be seen as a no-brainer.
NOTE: This information is the opinion of the author/blogger and not the official position of IAPMO.