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It might seem far-fetched, but there are 21 buildings already doing this in the United States; 78 others already have the capability to do so, or are well on their way. Zero-energy building projects are being completed all across the country in a variety of climates, from California to Florida toVermont, and several other states in between (like Ohio, Missouri, and Minnesota).
Zero-energy buildings (ZEBs) are so energy-efficient that their annual energy balance (their consumption minus the electricity they generate) equals zero or less than zero. In the long run, these facilities don’t need energy from nonrenewable sources like utility electricity. Although the buildings might pull from the grid in some situations (depending on demand and time of year), they also supply excess power back to the grid during other times of the year via the renewable energy being generated onsite through wind, solar, or geothermal strategies.
So how are these buildings actually achieving zero-energy status? Although their purposes are very different (from retail to education to office space), there are a few characteristics they share:
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