Law360 spoke to Manatt's Michael Polentz, co-chair of the firm's Real Estate & Land Use Practice, about the hurdles that must be tackled before net zero energy projects can see widespread success.
Law360 reports that developers' focus for new buildings has begun to shift to creating energy instead of just conserving it, and improvements in technology and new incentives are allowing them to construct buildings that use no more energy than they can create on-site. However, commercial net zero energy projects have not yet been hugely successful in the U.S., partly because it is difficult to achieve net zero energy in a building taller than a few floors.
"Scale is definitely one of the big issues," said Polentz, noting that the rule of thumb is that a building that has air conditioning cannot go above two floors and still achieve net zero energy status.
"Everyone is out to break the rule of thumb," Polentz said, referring to a small but growing group of developers and renewable energy experts spearheading a move toward net zero energy buildings.
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