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Annotated Bibliography

Bourrelle, J. S. (2014). Zero energy buildings and rebound effect: A solution to the paradox of
energy

efficiency?

Energy

and

Buildings,

84,

633-640.

doi:

10.1016/j.enbuild.2014.09.012
In this literature, Bourelle talked about net zero energy buildings (ZEBs),
primarily on the financial aspect. Bourelle argued that net zero energy buildings do not
necessarily help dwellers save energy cost due to a phenomena called the rebound effect.
Bourelle defined the rebound effect as behaviors that undermine cost savings in respond
to energy efficient amenities. For example, users continue to exploit the cheap energy
service provided by their energy efficient technology because they perceive that the
energy bill is cheap. Bourelle used energy-environment vectors to compare ZEBs with
conventional homes. He found that ZEBs use less energy, decreasing electricity cost and
increasing household income. This allowed users to commit more re-spending than they
usually would in markets such as vacations and flights. Bourelle highlighted that rebound
effect can be greatly augmented by feed-in tariffs that allow users to sell surplus
renewable energy generated by their ZEB. This increases income and worsens rebound
effect.
This article provided valuable insights into the financial aspect of ZEBs, an indepth approach to ZEBs that is rarely taken. However, the lack of quantitative analysis
did not construct a solid argument for the rebound effect. In addition, the literature did
not comprehensively analyze ZEBs for it lacked energy performance and user
satisfaction. However, I believe this article will guide me in analyzing ZEBs from not just

the conventional, energy performance aspect, but also the economical feasibility of this
invention.
Berry. S.,Davidson, K., Saman, W., & Whaley, D. (2014). Near zero energy homes-What do
users think? Energy Policy, 73, 127-137. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2014.05.011
While much has been done on the environmental impact and energy efficiency of
ZEBs, much is still unknown about the end-users perspective of the dwelling. In this
literature, Berry et al. studied end-users satisfaction by analyzing 25 ZEB households in
Lochiel Park Green Village, Australia. Berry et al. argued that analysis of ZEBs should
not focus just on energy performance, but also on whether end-users enjoy living in one.
Berry et al. looked at thermal comfort, user-friendliness of energy-efficient technology
and net energy use to measure user satisfaction. Through interviews, Berry et al.
concluded that users have both negative and positive experiences with ZEBs. Negative
experiences included green technology malfunctions and seasonal discomforts. This
research concluded that ZEBs might be energy efficient, but they are not without their
shortcomings in terms of comfort.
I feel that this information is vital because if provides readers another perspective
to look at ZEBs, this time from the inhabitants experiences. The execution was
comprehensive, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative measures to gather data.
However, while focusing on users content, the research failed to look at the economical
aspect of the ZEB on a household income level. I surmise that fulfillment of owning a
ZEB also depends highly on affordability and practicality. In addition, the households
chosen for the interview had only occupied their homes for 12 months and hence, enduser satisfaction is still uncertain in the long run. Finally, the sample size from which the

households were chosen was rather small. This could harm the ability of the data to
represent every household in Lochiel Park. Finally, the response given by the interviewee
might not be reliable due to the Hawthorne effect.
Kneifel, J. (2014). Life Cycle Cost Comparison of the NIST Net Zero Energy Residential Test
Facility to a Maryland Code-Compliant Design. NIST Special Publication 1172. doi:
10.6028/NIST.SP.1172
This publication looked at the performance of the Net Zero Energy Residential
Test Facility (NZERTF), a ZEB constructed by the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) through the funding of the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act(ARRA). Kneifel argued that ZEBs excel in energy performance and cost. Kneifel
compared the life-cycle cost and energy performance of the NZERTF to that of a
conventional, 2012 IECC Maryland building design. The research showed that ZEBs use
60% less energy than conventional homes, helping homeowners cut down electricity
costs. The literature also stated that ZEBs cost 33% more than conventional homes but
this figure will diminish with incentives provided by federal and state unions. Kneifel
concluded that ZEBs are big winners when it comes to energy efficiency and cost
savings.
The evidence gathered suggests that ZEBs might be more feasible and affordable
than argued, allowing users to reap the benefits in the long run. However, this literature is
not without its limitations. One limitation is that the data collected might no be accurate
due to the limitation of probes and simulation software. In addition, the cost estimates
were taken from one contractor and could not account for variation across different
contractors. Likewise, the approach to cost estimation was conservative, taking into

consideration advantageous variables such as mortgage income tax deductions and home
value appreciation. It has yet to consider end-user experience and even rebound effect.
This literature is useful in looking at the highs of ZEBs but it must be taken with a pinch
of salt for the shortcomings of ZEBs were not factored into the discussion.