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By Presidencia de la República Mexicana [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Heads of delegations at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

In December of 2015, representatives of 195 nations reached an historic agreement that will help stave off the most drastic effects of climate change. The Paris Climate Accords commit nearly every country involved to working toward limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees C and acknowledge that limiting temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C may well be needed to avoid major climate disruptions. A necessary goal and a wonderful commitment. However, the voluntary reductions in GHG emissions by the countries who signed the accord, including the U.S., will not come close to achieving either of these goals. The reality is that for the climate to stabilize, emissions will have to go to zero by about mid-century. No government yet has its eye on that prize. So the ball is still in our court.  Governments can help, but, ultimately, the job will have to be done by the people, private businesses, and local governments. At the grassroots level. From the bottom up. By you and me.

Zero Energy Homes and Positive Energy Homes will be key to this movement. Just imagine the impact on carbon emissions if the rest of the country followed California’s example of setting a net zero standard for their building codes. We would see drastic reductions in electric, natural gas, heating oil use, and carbon emissions.  What would our nation’s housing industry look like if building code authorities finally recognized that Zero Energy Homes are totally feasible and affordable. Zero Energy Homes would be built by independent builders and developers all across the country. How much sweeter would our air and water be if home buyers who could afford to do so bought or built Positive Energy Homes. They would not only reduce their electric, gas and heating fuel use to zero, but they could also power an electric car and care for their lawn with clean energy.

Everyone involved in Zero and Positive Energy Homes, from designers, builders, realtors, lenders, appraisers to homebuyers, is contributing to the real solution – to reaching the carbon emission goals science supports as being necessary for maintaining a habitable planet.  Let’s keep the momentum going.