Natural gas and solar energy can help homes achieve zero energy building goals, according to an HVAC construction study to be discussed at ASHRAE’s annual summer meeting.

The research, incorporating green HVAC, will be discussed June 28 at the American Society of Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Engineers’ annual conference in Atlanta.

The research was designed to increase the acceptance of zero energy buildings in the HVAC market, society officials said.

“The long-term goal of the research community working in energy efficiency of buildings is to achieve net zero energy buildings through good building design and the appropriate use of renewables,” wrote Larry Brand and Neil Leslie, P.E., of the Gas Technology Institute in Des Plaines, Ill., and Martha Brook, P.E., of the Sacramento-based California Energy Commission, the studies’ authors. “Applying solar PV (photovoltaic) systems to residential houses that use either all electric or mixed fuels to achieve net zero energy is a straightforward process. …Policy issues need to be addressed to facilitate mixed-fuel net zero energy houses. Future work includes adding an analysis of the growing renewable content of grid power, PV costs over time and the cost of efficiency vs. the cost of PV.”

The U.S. Energy Department is attempting to reduce energy consumption in newly built homes by 50 percent from 2009 levels. The state of California wants all new houses to be zero energy building by the end of this decade.

More information about the society’s June 27-July 1 meeting is available at