Communities of the Future: Accelerating Zero Energy District Master Planning

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Zero energy districts aggregate multiple buildings and optimize energy efficiency, district thermal energy, and renewable energy generation among those buildings so that on-site renewable energy can offset the energy use at a district scale. Zero energy districts have the potential to dramatically improve the economic competitiveness, resiliency, environmental quality, and energy independence of communities. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Districts Accelerator (ZEDA) brings together district developers, planners, owners, national experts, and key stakeholders to develop the energy master planning documents needed for zero energy district development and replication. Through this effort, DOE is working with pioneering leaders to understand and address barriers to achieving zero energy districts. Each district partner will complete detailed energy master plans that provide the framework necessary to achieve ambitious energy goals. These complex projects represent billions of dollars of investment and are creating the communities of the future. ZEDA partners are using best-practice approaches to realize energy performance goals for the entire building and district life cycle. Their successful strategies will be documented and made available to promote replication in cities around the world that are setting aggressive energy goals. This paper introduces zero energy districts, reviews the structure of ZEDA, discusses the value of energy master planning, presents barriers to zero energy districts and how these are being addressed by zero energy district pioneers, and suggests pathways for wide-scale replication.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 12 Aug 201817 Aug 2018


Conference2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

Bibliographical note

Available from ACEEE: see; See NREL/CP-5500-71841 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-74169


  • accelerator
  • buildings
  • energy efficiency
  • zero energy districts


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