International projects on carbon neutral buildings

Net zero energy and energy-plus buildings – these are pioneering concepts first and foremost that still have to be specified in detail and analysed for broader use in the construction sector. It is worthwhile looking at what is happening worldwide in this field. Which approaches are being taken in other countries? How is balancing carried out? Which technologies and systems are being used? An International Energy Agency (IEA) research group has been working on these issues since October 2008. As part of this project, which is entitled “Towards Net Zero Energy Solar Buildings”, experts from 19 countries are documenting and analysing sample net zero-energy projects from 19 countries.

The aim of this research group of international specialists is to develop a common understanding of the challenges to be met and of the possible conceptual, technological and methodological solutions.

Global appraisal

Around 300 net zero-energy and energy-plus buildings worldwide have been documented and analysed. This appraisal compares various building concepts, investigates various innovative technological solutions and building concepts, and evaluates all this in the context of the relevant framework conditions as regards energy policy and energy economics. Building complexes and small residential estates are included here alongside smaller and larger individual buildings. The areas covered include the construction of residential buildings and functional buildings, as well as new buildings and refurbishment projects. The result is a large number of successful sample projects that are typical of broad applications.

International division of tasks

The aim of a first specialist group, headed by Prof. Karsten Voss of the University of Wuppertal together with Roberto Lollini from EURAC in Italy, is to develop a harmonised calculation method that can be adapted internationally for the balancing approaches commonly applied for net zero-energy buildings. A second group, which is being led by researchers from New Zealand and France, is gathering and comparing knowledge about various concepts, technical and architectural solution approaches, energy characteristic values and practical experience based on sample and demonstration projects that have already been built. The group is also documenting all this in the form of a catalogue of measures. A third group under Canadian supervision is analysing and comparing various software programs and tools for planning net zero-energy buildings.

Detailed information on the IEA’s “Towards Net Zero Energy Solar Buildings” project can be found at

Map showing net zero-energy and energy-plus buildings worldwide

Map showing net zero-energy and energy-plus buildings worldwide
A very comprehensive interactive overview based on Google Maps shows almost 300 sample net zero-energy and energy-plus buildings worldwide. Internet links to more detailed information are provided where possible. The “Net Zero Energy Buildings Worldwide” overview can be accessed here… more

Zusätzliche Informationen:

Up to date

"Net zero energy buildings"

International projects of carbon neutrality in buildings

watch the flyer for mailorder or
order on the publishers website



Here you can find some professional articles:

Net zero energy buildings
A consistent definition framework
Energy and Buildings, Elsevier, 13 S.

Zero Energy Building
A review of definitions and calculation methodologies
Energy and Buildings, Elsevier, 9 S., PDF, 399 kB

Criteria for Definition of Net Zero Energy Buildings
Presentation at the Euro Sun 2010 Conference in Graz
Euro Sun, 8 S., PDF, 126 kB

Load Matching and Grid Interaction of Net Zero Energy Buildings
Presentation at the Euro Sun 2010 Conference in Graz
Euro Sun, 8 S., PDF, 836 kB

Net Zero Energy Solar Buildings
An Overview and Analysis on Worldwide Building Projects
Euro Sun, 9 S., PDF, 391 kB

Net Zero Energy Buildings
Calculation Methodologies versus National Building Codes
Euro Sun, 8 S., PDF, 58 kB

From Low-Energy to Net Zero-Energy Buildings
Status and Perspectives
Journal of Green Building, Volume 6, Number 1, 12 S., PDF, 954 kB

Goal: Zero Energy Building
Exemplary Experience Based on the Solar Estate Solarsiedlung Freiburg am Schlierberg, Germany
Journal of Green Building, Volume 4, Number 4, 8 S., PDF, 339 kB

Ziel Null Energie
Erfahrungen am Beispiel der Solarsiedlung Freiburg am Schlierberg
DBZ 1/2009, Bauverlag, 4 S., PDF, 170 kB