Europe Dominates Zero Energy Buildings Market

September 10, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

navigant energy manageWhile the global outlook for zero energy buildings (ZEBs) is strong, the market will start slowly, according to a new report from Navigant Research.

Navigant’s report “Zero Energy Buildings” estimates that total ZEB revenue will reach $629.3 million in 2014, focused mostly in the European Union member states for the next 2 decades. Navigant forecasts that the global ZEB market will reach $1.4 trillion by 2035, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.5 percent.

The main drivers encouraging the growth of non-EU ZEBs will be regulations and the ongoing reduction in ZEB technology prices. Outside of Europe, the United States will have a high ZEB adoption rate, driven mostly in California by aggressive building codes. The largest component of global ZEB revenue will be from soft costs like design and management, forecast to be $414.2 billion in 2035.

A ZEB uses as much energy over the course of the year as it generates from onsite renewables. Also called net zero energy buildings and, in the EU, nearly zero energy buildings (nZEBs), ZEBs bring together existing energy efficient technologies to form a high-performance building. The most common choice of renewable power is solar PV panels.

Other technologies that are playing a significant role in ZEBs include:

  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Advanced glazing and smart glass
  • Advanced wall insulation
  • Energy efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Energy management systems

One notable challenge in the market is the variety of definitions of a ZEB and the lack of a single standards body to identify what success looks like. This is further complicated by the many local interpretations of what makes a ZEB. Every EU member state, for example, defines nearly zero energy in a different way, making it challenging for vendors to serve multiple countries.

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