Net Zero Energy Future?

According to the Air Resources Board, about a quarter of California’s (human-induced) greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings–or what planners like to call the “built environment.”

My colleague Peter Jon Shuler was at today’s meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco, when it rolled out its master plan for energy-efficient buildings throughout the state. Peter’s notes:
The California Public Utilities Commission has taken the first steps in an innovative plan to eventually get all new construction in the state down to zero net energy use.

On Tuesday, the PUC adopted what it’s calling the Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan.  More than 500 individuals and organizations came together to craft the ambitious plan – designed to save energy while growing the state’s population and economy.  It’s still a little fuzzy on the details of how all this will happen.

The plan includes what it calls its four Big Bold strategies:

• All new residential construction in California will be zero net energy by 2020;
• All new commercial construction in California will be zero net energy by 2030;
• The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry will be reshaped to ensure optimal equipment performance; and
• All eligible low-income homes will be energy efficient by 2020.