We are standing at a great inflection point in history - the beginning of the Age of Free Energy: when our buildings and cars effectively power themselves without the need for any fossil fuel.
Net Zero is not a far-fetched dream, but the historical convergence of these __ factors:
- Renewable Energy technologies for pollution-free and cost-free energy,
- climatological need to eliminate fossil fuels,
- rapidly growing "Green Bond" and PACE financing for Renewable Energy, and
- widespread public and government interest in alternative energy and energy conservation.
Net Zero Technologies
"Technologies for pollution-free and cost-free energy" may sound far fetched, but it is actually a set of technologies already being used in new construction around the world to produce Net Zero Energy buildings. It is a combination of 5 key technologies that together can provide all of the energy needed by any building: PV (solar), GHP (geothermal heating and cooling, thermal batteries), EE (energy efficiency), sometimes Wind, and sometimes Electric Batteries. Each of these technologies will reduce a building's energy cost, and combining them can bring any building's annual energy cost to $0.
Historic Convergence -- Win-Win-Win!
This historic convergence of factors gives us the unique opportunity to make a rapid start toward Net Zero. Reaching the ultimate goal of all our buildings and cars powering themselves will not happen overnight. It will take 1-2 generations to fully implement, but we very realistically could get 25% of our homes and businesses moving toward Net Zero within 5 years. The upgrade of all our buildings will take 20-40 years. This can all be done now and at no net cost if we have the willpower. (more on Costs later)
Net Zero is a win-win-win! Implementing PV/GHP/EE gives the home or building owner a win with lower or no energy bills. All our communities win with more Clean Energy jobs. And we all win with the reduction of pollution and the elimination of climate risk. And, once we have in a broad way expanded PV/GHP/EE for our buildings, we will also all win because the current outflow of funds for energy from all our communities will have stopped and our economy will thrive. Net Zero can usher in a truly historic win-win-win for us all.
Net Zero Timeline
Net Zero is the path that we are on and we are at the starting gate. At the goal posts in the distance is a society where we have eliminated the need for any fossil fuels for homes and businesses. The only question is 'how far have we moved toward Net Zero yet?'
The DOE's National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) already has this new class of "Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB)" categorized into 4 types A/B/C/D, where A is a building that gets all its power from within the building footprint, and D is a site where some or all of the Renewable Energy is purchased from off site. Net Zero is where we are going -- what kind of Net Zero energy building do you have? 80% (NZEB-80) or 90% (NZEB-90) or 100% (NZEB).