The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) has a mission to advance the adoption of sustainable energy practices in the built environment. The organization was awarded a $125,000 grant by the Boston-based Barr Foundation last month to catalyze the market for “zero net energy homes”- which actually generate more energy than they use. In Boston, the release of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings accounts for 74 percent of the city’s carbon footprint. The building of these homes and encouraging the adoption of techniques of extremely energy efficient building can substantially reduce building related GHG-emissions. This type of work is not only cost effective, but it also improves indoor air quality and associated health outcomes, and it a generator of local jobs that cannot be outsourced.
More than five years ago NESEA introduced its annual “Zero Net Energy Building Award”, which offers a $10,000 prize for the best example of a building in the Northeast that produces more energy than it consumes. Since then nearly 30 applicants from seven states have been eligible for this prestigious award. With this grant, NESEA plans to tackle three barriers to the widespread adoption of zero net energy buildings: lack of access to examples of successful projects, lack of widespread technical knowledge with respect to how to complete these projects, and perceptions that zero net energy construction is not cost effective. NESEA is taking action by creating a database of zero net energy homes in the Northeast, with a goal of at least 30 case studies by the end of the grant in June 2014. NESEA will also produce a white paper to share the best practices learned from the examples that populate the database and provide training, via a 10-week online course. Participants in the course will learn how to model and undertake a residential zero net energy project. Students who complete Rosenbaum’s course and subsequently undertake a net zero project will be eligible for tuition reimbursement, as well as an additional stipend if they submit their project into the NESEA database. These efforts have great potential to deliver a substantial decline in GHG-emissions from buildings in the Northeast.
Source: Press Release: Breaking- We’re Going To Catalyze The Market for Zero Net Energy Homes