net zero energy house by Zoka Zola
Ed Mazria challenged the architecture and building community to go fossil-fuel free by 2030; the community yawned, knowing that until the clients paid for it and the building codes required it, not much was going to happen too quickly. Now the State of California is doing just that. The California Energy Commission has recommended that all residential buildings be "net zero energy" by 2020 and commercial buildings by 2030.
zero energy house by Clarum Homes
While inspired by the 2030 Challenge, the California rules go for net zero energy rather than no fossil fuel, so a building might use fossil fuels but would have to offset it with renewables. Allyson Wendt at Building Green writes:
CEC based its definition of net-zero-energy performance, and many of its recommendations, on a report by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), which states that a goal of "no net purchases from the electricity or gas grid" may be met with energy-efficient design and "onsite clean distributed generation."
As usual, California leads the way with the most progressive and forward-looking regulations; this should be the law everywhere.