California energy regulators adopted an ambitious first-of-its kind rule yesterday, making it a goal that all new homes built after 2020 produce as much energy as they consume, according to the Los Angeles Times.
With so-called "distributed energy" technology includes familiar things like solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems, as well as high-performance windows and good-old insulation, but aiming for zero net energy homes represents a goal that even ambitious builders often fail to meet -- at least today.
That's the genius of this move. California's rule will -- like federal requirements for vehicle fuel economy -- spur innovation in the industry so that lingering obstacles to achieving that goal will fall away.
Further, it addresses a thorny problem in new construction. Owners benefit from energy efficiency over the long term, but often developers have no incentive to build green.
Now, in California anyway, they do. And future homeowners will be the beneficiaries.
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