California Utilities ZNE Roadmap

The California Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan (2008) set ambitious goals for zero net energy (ZNE) for residential and commercial new construction. These goals are challenging both technically and from a building industry change perspective.



Pacific Gas & Electric Company

Project Location


TRC led a study team that translated the Strategic Plan targets into an actionable Framework and identified gaps, barriers, and opportunities towards ZNE, recommended pathways to ZNE, and prioritized research, regulatory, and market needs and next steps.

Key recommendations made by this project include:

  • All cost-effective energy efficiency should be the foundation
  • Breadth of ZNE planning is expansive and needs coordinated effort
  • ZNE goals are best served by establishing energy use intensity (EUI) targets
  • Energy efficiency programs and Codes should target achievement of EUI targets rather than "% better than"
  • Quality construction should be the basis for a ZNE building
  • Addressing plug loads is critical to meeting ZNE goals
  • Cost of renewables is the wild card in cost-effectiveness of ZNE
  • The grid impacts of ZNE need to be studied
  • Understanding the human factors in ZNE necessary if ZNE is to gain traction
  • Contact TRC today for more information about our services or this project. Contact TRC