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The New Net Zero

“Maclay Architects have focused their entire business model on net zero and have written one of the most in-depth and definitive books, The New Net Zero, on net-zero design and construction applicable to commercial buildings.”

- Rick Fedrizzi,

Founding Chair, US Green Building Council

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The threshold for green building is no longer low energy use, its now net-zero energy. The New Net Zero charts the path for exploring green design's new frontier: net-zero-energy structures that produce as much energy as they consume, using only renewable energy sources.

In a nation where buildings comprise roughly 40 percent of the country's total fossil fuel consumption, the interest in net-zero building is growing enormously—among designers interested in addressing climate change and consumers interested in energy efficiency and long-term savings.

This book makes the case for a net-zero future; explains net-zero building metrics, integrated design practices, and renewable energy options; provides practical construction details; and shares his lessons learned on building successful teams for net-zero construction projects.

Designers and builders will find a wealth of state-of-the-art information on such considerations as:

The comprehensive overview is accompanied by case studies, which include institutional buildings, commercial projects, and residences. Both new construction and renovation projects—even of historic buildings—are covered in detail.

The New Net Zero is geared toward professionals exploring net-zero design, but also suitable for nonprofessionals seeking ideas, examples, and strategies on net-zero options that are beautiful and renewably powered, including communities, cities and regions. By the conclusion, the reader will understand why and how to create a net zero future that offers the highest quality of life and inspiration while being ecologically-minded and financially prudent.


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The New Net Zero

Architect Bill Maclay’s new tome packs a lifetime of experience on low-energy buildings into a tremendous resource for practitioners.

This isn’t a book for bicycle commuters to lug around! At more than 550 pages, the oversized volume weighs in at an impressive five pounds. But it’s worth every calorie you might expend carrying it. In fact, if I could recommend only one book today for designers and builders of low-energy, green homes and small commercial buildings, this would be it. The New Net Zero is organized into five parts: What is Net Zero, Net Zero Design, Core Construction Practices, Expanding the Net Zero Horizon, and the Net Zero Journey.

The Net Zero Journey

But preceding this, in the preface, I was fascinated to learn of Maclay’s background, going back to inspiration from solar pioneer Steve Baer in 1970 and then his involvement, starting as a graduate architecture student in 1971, designing Dimetrodon in Vermont, a small-scale renewably powered community of compact homes—much like cohousing, which would emerge decades later—where Bill and his wife lived for 20 years, raising a family.

Putting net-zero in its place

In Part I, three chapters lay out the context of the book. Chapter 1, “Energy and Transition,” provides the requisite “whys” of net-zero-energy buildings: resource issues, the inevitable transition away from fossil fuels, renewable energy, smart grids, and philosophical perspectives on energy, beauty, and human settlement.

In Chapter 2, “Defining the New Net Zero,” Maclay lays out, clearly and succinctly, what is meant by net-zero energy, how definitions of net-zero differ, understanding energy use intensity (EUI), various energy conservation standards and codes, net-zero-energy vs. carbon-neutral buildings, and what it means to extend net zero beyond the building scale.

Chapter 3, “The Roots of Net Zero Design,” examines some of the architectural forces and trends that have moved us toward net zero, touching on the LEED Rating System, but devoting much more attention to the Living Building Challenge, which has net-zero-energy performance as a keystone principle.

This chapter includes the first of eleven in-depth case studies of projects designed by Maclay Architects, each of which is packed with design details, performance information, and photos. The first of these case studies, at eight pages, is the Bosarge Family Education Center at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Read the whole Building Green Review

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An Architect's Review

As an Architect with 30 years experience in both Commercial and Residential Design & Construction, I purchased this book to upgrade my knowledge of the New Net Zero technologies. I found this book to be extremely informative for the EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL

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With growing concern over climate change and mounting interest in sustainable design, there’s been increased focus on net zero energy in the design and construction industries.

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