And what exactly does net zero indicate? It means that over the course of a 12-month benchmarking period (the standard benchmark factoring in seasonal changes), a building has produced just as much (or more) energy as it has consumed.

But how? I reached out to several industry experts to discuss this trend including: Brian Anderson, Founding Partner of Anderson Porter Design, Dru B. Crawley, former Commercial Buildings Team Lead for the Department of Energy, Jeff Blankman, McCormick's Sustainable Manufacturing Manager, and current Director of Building Performance at Bentley Systems, and Blake Bisson, VP of Sales & Marketing at Ekotrope.

For existing facilities, projects begin with retrofits to lessen consumption. For example, McCormick recently announced its net zero achievement in its food distribution center which happens to be a staggering 363,000 square feet. Blankman says the first step is addressing current consumption first, "The most important maneuver in a net zero makeover is to focus on energy efficiency first. You must reduce consumption-making a facility as efficient as possible."

His facility achieved net zero following a series of retrofits including updated lighting and HVAC systems, followed by the installation of photovoltaic solar panels (PV) on its roof space. This installation produced enough energy to balance the reduced consumption post-retrofits.

On the other hand, design teams and architects are beginning to design buildings with the initial goal of operating as a net zero facility post-occupancy. The experts offer considerations for such initiatives:

  • Integrate planning pre-design.
  • Do thorough energy and cost modeling beforehand.
  • Carefully research incentives and funding opportunities.
  • Expect challenges and ongoing oversight.

Is this idea achievable on a wide scale basis? Read the original story written for Software Advice and see what the experts have to say: Breaking Down Net Zero Building: Reality or Wishful Thinking?


Ashley Halligan is an analyst at Austin-based Software Advice specializing in the facility and property management markets. She regularly reports on sustainability trends among other topics. Connect with her on LinkedIn or email her at

Upcoming Events

August 9 - August 11 2022

MaximoWorld 2022

View all Events
80% of newsletter subscribers report finding something used to improve their jobs on a regular basis.
Subscribers get exclusive content. Just released...MRO Best Practices Special Report - a $399 value!
“Steel-ing” Reliability in Alabama

A joint venture between two of the world’s largest steel companies inspired innovative approaches to maintenance reliability that incorporate the tools, technology and techniques of today. This article takes you on their journey.

Three Things You Need to Know About Capital Project Prioritization

“Why do you think these two projects rank so much higher in this method than the first method?” the facilitator asked the director of reliability.

What Is Industrial Maintenance as a Service?

Industrial maintenance as a service (#imaas) transfers the digital and/or manual management of maintenance and industrial operations from machine users to machine manufacturers (OEMs), while improving it considerably.

Three Things You Need to Know About Criticality Analysis

When it comes to criticality analysis, there are three key factors must be emphasized.

Turning the Oil Tanker

This article highlights the hidden trap of performance management systems.

Optimizing Value From Physical Assets

There are ever-increasing opportunities to create new and sustainable value in asset-intensive organizations through enhanced use of technology.

Conducting Asset Criticality Assessment for Better Maintenance Strategy and Techniques

Conducting an asset criticality assessment (ACA) is the first step in maintaining the assets properly. This article addresses the best maintenance strategy for assets by using ACA techniques.

Harmonizing PMs

Maintenance reliability is, of course, an essential part of any successful business that wants to remain successful. It includes the three PMs: predictive, preventive and proactive maintenance.

How an Edge IoT Platform Increases Efficiency, Availability and Productivity

Within four years, more than 30 per cent of businesses and organizations will include edge computing in their cloud deployments to address bandwidth bottlenecks, reduce latency, and process data for decision support in real-time.

MaximoWorld 2022

The world's largest conference for IBM Maximo users, IBM Executives, IBM Maximo Partners and Services with Uptime Elements Reliability Framework and Asset Management System is being held Aug 8-11, 2022