There are many great resources available for ZNE and energy efficient building. Some of them are listed below.

Energy Modeling Resources

Many free, state-of-the-art tools, that would be appropriate for this project are available including, but not limited to:

●  EnergyPlus is a state-of-the-art hourly energy modeling program supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE). It can be used in its native, text-based form but is often wrapped with a user interface.

●  OpenStudio is a cross-platform (Windows, Mac, and Linux) collection of software tools to support whole building energy modeling using EnergyPlus and advanced daylight analysis using Radiance.

●  SketchUp is a 3D modeling software that allows users to construct 3D building geometries.

●  Euclid is a plugin for SketchUp that allows users to quickly build EnergyPlus models from 3D geometry.

●  eQUEST is a quick building energy simulation tool.

●  National Renewable Energy Lab’s (NREL) PVWatts Grid Data Calculator estimates annual energy production and performance data for solar PV based on typical meteorological year weather data.


Other valuable resources include:

●  The Prototype Buildings library maintained by DOE can be used as a starting point for energy simulations. These are also built into OpenStudio.

●  The Snapshot Efficiency Tool is a web-based tool for quickly understanding the potential impact of various efficiency measures. Because it is based on pre-run simulations, the user has no control over geometry.

Additionally, there are several active community-supported forums for building simulation including and


Advanced Energy Design Guides, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The Green Studio Handbook, Alison Kwok, Walter Grondzik, Routledge, 2011.

Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Sustainable Design Methods for Architects, Norbert Lechner, Wiley, 2008.

Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods, Edward Allen and Joseph Iano, Wiley, 2008.

Net Zero Energy Design: A Guide for Commercial Architecture, Thomas Hootman, Wiley, 2013.

Design Professional's Guide to Zero Net Energy Buildings, Charles Eley, Island Press, 2016.

Sun, Wind, and Light: Architectural Design Strategies, Mark DeKay, Wiley, 2014.

Solar Ready Buildings Planning Guide, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Case Studies

Zero Net Energy Case Study Buildings Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Edward Dean describe the design strategies and monitored energy performance of 11 ZNE buildings in California. Case study #11, in Volume 2, is of the San Francisco Exploratorium, a bayside interactive museum.

The New Buildings Institute has compiled short case studies of ZNE buildings around the country.

Lessons Learned from Case Studies of Six High-Performance Buildings, Paul Torcellini et al, 2006

Net Zero Energy Buildings: Case Studies and Lessons Learned, Linda Reeder, Routledge, 2016


The Tale of Two Buildings describes how the energy impact of a building goes beyond annual totals.

The Technical Feasibility of ZNE Buildings in California report describes packages of building features for different building types that are modeled to achieve ZNE performance in California climates.