Net Zero Energy Building : Predicted and Unintended Consequences book cover
1st Edition

Net Zero Energy Building
Predicted and Unintended Consequences


Ming Hu

ISBN 9780815367802
Published April 16, 2019 by Routledge
180 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
SAVE $12.89
was $42.95
USD $30.06

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

What do we mean by net zero energy? Zero operating energy? Zero energy costs? Zero emissions? There is no one answer: approaches to net zero building vary widely across the globe and are influenced by different environmental and cultural contexts.

Net Zero Energy Building: Predicted and Unintended Consequences presents a comprehensive overview of variations in 'net zero' building practices. Drawing on examples from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, and China, Ming Hu examines diverse approaches to net zero and reveals their intended and unintended consequences. 

Existing approaches often focus on operating energy: how to make buildings more efficient by reducing the energy consumed by climate control, lighting, and appliances. Hu goes beyond this by analyzing overall energy consumption and environmental impact across the entire life cycle of a building—ranging from the manufacture of building materials to transportation, renovation, and demolition. Is net zero building still achievable once we look at these factors?

With clear implications for future practice, this is key reading for professionals in building design, architecture, and construction, as well as students on sustainable and green architecture courses.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents




Chapter One: The Evolution of Net-Zero Energy Building

Background and ecological origin – ecological economics

1930-1969 Early Solar House

1970-1989 First energy crisis and the emerge of net-zero energy building

1990-2006 Second Energy Crisis and The Consensus of Net-Zero Energy Building

2076-2010 Finical Crisis and Rapid Development of Net-Zero Energy Building

2010–2016 Financial Recovery and Blooming Net-Zero Energy Building

2017–Beyond Net-Zero Energy Building


Chapter Two: Principles of Zero: Metrics and Assessment

Existing Definition of Net-Zero Energy Building

The equation behind the definitions

Existing energy calculation method

Metrics and Measurement Tools


Chapter Three: Predicted Impact of Net Zero Building

Trends and Opportunities

Direct Benefits of Net-Zero Building

Indirect Benefits

Culture-Social Shift – Impact on Community


Chapter Four: Unintended Consequences Net Zero Building – from a life cycle perspective

Net Energy and Its Ecological Economics Origin

Unintended Consequence One: environmental impact associated with embodied energy

Unintended Consequence Two: societal impact - more sprawl and green life style?

Unintended Consequence Three: ecological degradation


Chapter Five: Future Drivers and Economics

Environmental Drivers

Regulatory Drivers: mandates, regulations and incentives

Human Health Drivers

Technology Drivers

Economic Drivers


Chapter Six: Advanced Building Materials and Systems- Smart Green Building


Phase Changing Material

Smart Systems: Advanced Building Envelope Fabric Materials


Chapter Seven: Zero-Impact Building – new framework based on life cycle assessment

Problems of Existing net zero definition

Additional Impact Indicators

Proposed definition of net zero impact building – from life cycle perspective

Proposed measurement and evaluation framework for net zero impact building


Chapter Eight: Future Development – A Case Study



Carbon Neutral Built Environment and City

Three Case Studies


View More



Ming Hu is an Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, University of Maryland, USA. She teaches technology courses which focus on the integration of architectural design with structural, materials, and building performance assessment. She is an architectural practitioner, educator, and researcher with expertise in high-performance building design, life cycle assessment, building performance measurement, and benchmarking. She has more than 14 years’ experience of working on international high-profile projects in firms including HOK’s Washington, DC office. Her background includes training in the architectural discipline and years of practice across disciplines, which gives her a unique perspective and ability to weave these fields together in her research.


"Ming Hu has not only given us the history of net-zero buildings and a detailed analysis of their design, but has taken net-zero to the next logical level, demanding "zero-impact" building."

Dr. William W. Braham, FAIA, University of Pennsylvania


"The need for increasingly aggressive energy efficiency goals parallels the rising need to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon Neutrality has given way to Net Zero, a simple standard which Professor Ming Hu lucidly explains in its many achievable and some complex variations. This book will help policy makers pick an interpretation which is both effective and achievable; an essential accessory for this next phase of green design and building."

Ralph Bennett, FAIA, LEED AP (BD&C), Bennett Frank McCarthy Architects, Inc


"Net Zero Building provides practitioners and policymakers the critical expertise and motivation needed for a net zero future in architecture and urbanism. Clear and illustrated chapters provide us with critical expertise on the definitions, the drivers, the quantification, and the innovations that will ensure zero impact through the full life cycle of the built environment. Ming Hu has created an irreplaceable reference for our shared future."

Vivian Loftness, FAIA, University Professor and Paul Mellon Chair in Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University


"The pitfalls of ecological construction are thus dealt with excellently in a concise manner."

Rijkert Knoppers, 


Net Zero Energy Building by Professor Ming Hu covers a wide range of issues and aspects related to net zero energy building… It is informative, inspiring, and handy for readers when they can find various definitions and illustrative examples placed side by side with supplemental technical information. The insightful discussions on the benefits and unintended consequences of zero net building allow readers to fully grasp the complexity of the phenomenon… This is a rather motivating and idea-packed book. It is a great source of information for policy-makers, design professionals, researchers, scholars, and college students.

Yimin Zhu, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Construction Management, Louisiana State University