Zero Net Energy Myths and Modes of Thought

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and a number of professional organizations have established a target of zero net energy (ZNE) in buildings by 2030. One definition of ZNE is a building with greatly reduced needs for energy through efficiency gains with the balance of energy needs supplied by renewable technologies. The push to ZNE is a response to research indicating that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased sharply since the eighteenth century, resulting in a gradual warming of the Earth?s climate. A review of ZNE policies reveals that the organizations involved frame ... continued below

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Rajkovich, Nicholas B.; Diamond, Rick & Burke, Bill September 20, 2010.

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and a number of professional organizations have established a target of zero net energy (ZNE) in buildings by 2030. One definition of ZNE is a building with greatly reduced needs for energy through efficiency gains with the balance of energy needs supplied by renewable technologies. The push to ZNE is a response to research indicating that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased sharply since the eighteenth century, resulting in a gradual warming of the Earth?s climate. A review of ZNE policies reveals that the organizations involved frame the ZNE issue in diverse ways, resulting in a wide variety of myths and a divergent set of epistemologies. With federal and state money poised to promote ZNE, it is timely to investigate how epistemologies, meaning a belief system by which we take facts and convert them into knowledge upon which to take action, and the propagation of myths might affect the outcome of a ZNE program. This paper outlines myths commonly discussed in the energy efficiency and renewable energy communities related to ZNE and describes how each myth is a different way of expressing"the truth." The paper continues by reviewing a number of epistemologies common to energy planning, and concludes that the organizations involved in ZNE should work together to create a"collaborative rationality" for ZNE. Through this collaborative framework it is argued that we may be able to achieve the ZNE and greenhouse gas mitigation targets.

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  • Report No.: LBNL-3974E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.2172/991748 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 991748
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1012778

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • September 20, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Oct. 18, 2017, 12:55 p.m.

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Rajkovich, Nicholas B.; Diamond, Rick & Burke, Bill. Zero Net Energy Myths and Modes of Thought, report, September 20, 2010; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1012778/: accessed January 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.