NEW YORK - Are zero-energy buildings possible? The HVACR industry wants to get as close as possible, said Kent Peterson, P.E., president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) at a press breakfast here Tuesday morning.

“Simply put, net-zero-energy buildings are those that consume no more energy than they produce on an annual basis,” Peterson explained. “The move toward net-zero is essential for the building industry. Buildings today constitute 40 percent of energy use in the United States, and heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and water heating account for 65 to 75 percent of energy use in residential and commercial buildings.”

Today’s buildings, he said, “mortgage the energy future of the world,” with an impact that will last for decades to come. ASHRAE’s standards activity works very hard to minimize the impact of those buildings.