BOULDER, Colo. — Multiple forces are driving the construction industry toward the goal of producing zero energy buildings, i.e., buildings that produce as much energy as they consume through on-site and renewable energy systems. Many of the technologies needed to deliver zero energy buildings, such as high-efficiency HVAC systems, have already been developed. According to a report from Pike Research, over the next few decades, cost decreases in existing technologies and innovation in emerging technologies, driven by government regulations, will help make zero energy building more attainable.

Worldwide revenue from zero energy buildings will grow rapidly over the next 20 years, Pike Research forecasts, reaching almost $690 billion by 2020 and nearly $1.3 trillion by 2035.

“Zero energy buildings constitute only a small fraction of the overall green building market today,” said senior analyst Eric Bloom. “While several dozen buildings of this type have been constructed in the United States, and while the Passivhaus movement in Europe is achieving zero energy in many residential and commercial buildings, the market as a whole remains essentially dormant. That is changing as advances in building technology provide breakthrough solutions to energy efficiency and renewable energy challenges, while driving down costs for existing technologies.”

For example, electrochromic glass technology and innovative energy storage technologies are expected to continue to improve in terms of durability and performance while dropping in cost over time. In parallel with a series of regulatory measures mandating zero energy building construction in commercial and residential buildings, primarily in the European Union and North America, these advances are predicted to expand the zero energy building sector beyond a niche market over the next few decades.

Publication date: 7/23/2012