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Coastal California City Mandates Net Zero Energy for Residential Construction

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Santa Monica, CA, recently became the first city in the world to require zero net energy (ZNE) construction for all new single-family homes, reports NRMCA's Tien Peng. Policies such as this can support the use of concrete products such as Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) as a proven solution for energy efficiency in the residential market. The new rule also calls for new multifamily and commercial buildings to reduce their energy consumption to 10% below the rates set in the 2016 California Energy Code. The CALGreen standard referenced by the Santa Monica ordinance defines ZNE construction as resulting in a building where the value of the energy produced on-site by renewable energy technologies and the value of the energy consumed annually by the building are equal.

The interest in ZNE policies and programs align directly with the state’s Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan instituted in 2008 by the California Public Utilities Commission. That plan established a road map for buildings in the state to be zero net energy users over time. The plan established a goal for all residential construction to be ZNE by 2020 with all new commercial construction achieving the same status by 2030.

Build with Strength is a coalition led of NRMCA that promotes concrete building systems through communications, project promotion, education and advocacy and can help leverage sustainable standards to help place more concrete. To learn more about these programs, or for more information on how local energy policies can help you, contact Tien Peng at or 206-913-8535.

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