Half of the U.S. government’s sprawling real estate portfolio could attain net-zero status by 2030, meaning that the structures produce as much energy as they consume, if the General Services Administration accepts a September, 2014 recommendation from its Green Building Advisory Committee.
“The GSA is the largest landlord in the United States, controlling more than 2% of commercial real estate in the nation, so the potential impact is monumental,” the Rocky Mountain Institute reports. “Adoption and implementation of this recommendation could save eight million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions and encourage the generation of over 500 MWh of renewable energy for the GSA by 2030.”
RMI describes net-zero energy (NZE) as “an emerging building design trend that combines leading-edge energy-efficiency technologies, integrative building design principles, and renewable energy technologies to deliver resilient buildings that have little to no net consumption of grid energy.”
While the Green Building Advisory Committee adopted the NZE target unanimously, “the GSA and other agencies have not yet approved it as formal agency policy,” Jungclaus writes. He warns that “to achieve this recommendation, the GSA would need to begin planning immediately.”