The three pillars of zero-emissions buildings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy has introduced a standardised, verifiable basis for defining a zero-emissions building. The first part of this definition, focusing on Operating Emissions, outlines three fundamental criteria that are crucial for a building to be considered a zero-emissions building:

1. Highly energy efficient: the building must be designed and operated to maximise energy efficiency, reducing energy demand and consumption.

2. Free of on-site emissions: the building must be free of any direct emissions from the on-site energy, ensuring a truly emissions-free operation.

3. Powered solely by clean energy: the building must be powered entirely by renewable or clean energy sources, eliminating the need for fossil fuels.

The three pillars of zero-emissions buildings

The takeaway here is that reaching the organisation’s net-zero targets is driven by high energy efficiency. This means minimising energy waste, optimising the performance of existing systems, ensuring renewable energy sources are delivering as expected, and making sure any improvements or upgrades live up to the manufacturer’s claims.

Monitoring your buildings and facilities allows you to take action where needed. The more action items you can cross off the list, the closer you get to reaching your targets.

The power of truly actionable insights

You don’t need digital twins or high-tech AI solutions to reach your targets. You need the right information, analysed in a way that makes sense—insightful, clear, transparent, and actionable. Whether it’s achieving financial gain, improving office space comfort, or reaching net-zero targets, the right information will help you see what steps must be taken to stay on track. 

With the right information, you can make easier, faster and more effective decisions about energy use. With as little as your utility bills and some basic building information, we can give you a first insight into your building performance, where you benchmark, and what you might want to aim for.

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