The consequences of climate change are becoming more obvious with events such as the California megafires and the 9 hurricanes we have experienced in just this season both being linked to the gradual change. Due to this, the public support for green initiatives has gone up as well. That is where things like net-zero energy buildings and schools come in.
What Is Net-Zero Energy And What Are The Steps Towards It?
Net-zero is a relatively new term that refers to buildings that generate energy through renewable sources, thus using net-zero energy. This is achieved by using various methods of renewable energy generation, but most commonly through roof-mounted solar panels. This effort is doubled by utilizing energy conserving technologies around the buildings so that the energy consumption can be accommodated for. The cost of a net-zero building is not much more than a standard building due to the 80% decrease in the cost of renewable energy in the last 10 years. The construction is not as expensive as it used to be, and the efficiency of the solar panels makes the electricity costs saved lead to lower costs in the long run.
Net-Zero Schools And Other Projects
Two small towns in Connecticut, Mansfield and Manchester, are creating net-zero elementary schools. The combination of the lowered cost of renewable energy sources and the particularly high utility costs in the North East of the United States makes this a very viable option. Both schools, and a majority of the net-zero projects around the country, are being led by CMTA Inc. Through that company and other green initiatives, the number of net-zero buildings being constructed each year is growing quickly with 700 buildings in 2020 compared to 332 in 2016. Over one-third of the net-zero projects currently in construction are public schools. With these steps forward combined with the movement to phase out gasoline-powered cars, the United States could drastically lower its environmental impact in the next few decades.
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