The White House and the U.S. Department of Energy announced the release of phase one of a National Definition for a Zero Emissions Building for the private sector. The announcement follows months of stakeholder input and expertise to establish a universal definition of a net zero building. It will serve as a guide for state and local governments and companies setting energy and carbon reduction targets to achieve global climate goals, focusing on three main areas in the Definition: the determination that a building is highly energy efficient; that the building is fully electrified; and that the building uses only clearly defined clean energy sources.

"We applaud the exceptional efforts of the White House and the Department of Energy in conducting outreach to all stakeholders as they worked to develop this definition," stated Vicki Worden, President & CEO of the Green Building Initiative. "As a national certification system, we are pleased to be able to incorporate the National Definition for a Zero Emissions Building into GBI’s Green Globes Journey to Net Zero Carbon Certification. GBI believes that by amplifying this Definition, we will support the private sector’s goals together with the goals of the federal government’s leased portfolio to collectively transform and significantly reduce the built environment's carbon footprint.”

For nearly two years, the Green Building Initiative (GBI) has worked with subject matter experts, state and local governments, and large corporate portfolios to develop and deliver the Green Globes Journey to Net Zero program (JNZ). GBI identified a market need for an assessment program that helps building owners track their progress towards net zero energy and carbon and seek customized guidance for improvement. These programs leverage rigorous carbon accounting principles to identify site EUI and CO2e percent reductions against a baseline. Green Globes Journey to Net Zero encourages all building owners, whether just getting started or having made significant progress, to evaluate and report on their journey, with an ultimate goal of guiding projects to a fully certified net zero energy and net zero carbon building or portfolio.

As an organization committed to collaboration and transparency, GBI conducted two public input periods prior to beginning the JNZ pilot program. The JNZ pilot program consisted of nearly 100MM square feet of commercial and multifamily residential real estate, representing several asset classes among most climate zones. GBI is opening a third public input period later this year.

GBI’s Green Globes Journey to Net Zero program is pleased to incorporate the newly finalized National Definition for a Zero Emissions Building into our certification for projects in the Green Globes Journey to Net Zero Carbon program. We believe that standardizing the definition of a zero emissions building will help projects more easily identify targets and work toward them. Additionally, we look forward to continuing to work on phase 2 of the Definition, as it moves into conversations about materials and refrigerants. The Green Globes Journey to Net Zero program also provides third-party assessment, identification, and recognition of compliance with state and local requirements and data from the 170 buildings in our net zero pilot program is helping us to support the development of state and local net zero policies and incentives.

To receive updates on GBI’s public comment period,