Many types of zero energy (ZE) buildings can be constructed with no added upfront cost, and some commercial buildings can see return on investment in as little as one year, according to a report by U.S. Green Building Council Massachusetts Chapter.
The report, “Zero Energy Buildings in MA: Saving Money from the Start,” assesses zero energy upfront building costs, model performance, and life-cycle costs in Massachusetts. Stakeholders and decision-makers frequently cite high costs as the primary barrier to ZE buildings, but the report contradicts that perception.
Researchers found that ZE buildings are being constructed utilizing readily available products, practices, technologies, and energy efficiency rebates. “We must address buildings with urgency, as they are the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the City of Boston and demystify the notion that a future of resilient and sustainable buildings is unattainable,” said Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley, Chairman of the Environment, Sustainability and Parks Committee, in a news release.
The report says that building energy demand can be reduced 44% to 54% across all building types with technology that’s readily available today. Existing office buildings retrofitted to zero energy, with renewables, can produce a return on investment in as little as five to six years.