|Obstacles to Developing Net-Zero Energy (NZE) Homes in Greater Toronto Area|
Ghazal Makvandia and Md. Safiuddin
Abstract: Efforts have been put in place to minimize the effects of construction activities and occupancy, but the problem of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continues to have detrimental effects on the environment. As an effort to reduce GHG emissions, particularly carbon emissions, countable commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential net-zero energy (NZE) buildings were built around the globe during the past few years, and they are still operating. But there exist many challenges and barriers for the construction of NZE buildings. This study identifies the obstacles to developing NZE buildings, with a focus on single-family homes, in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The study sought to identify the technical, organizational, and social challenges of constructing NZE buildings, realize the importance of the public awareness in making NZE homes, and provide recommendations on how to raise public knowledge. A qualitative approach was employed to collect the primary data through survey and interviews. The secondary data obtained from the literature review were also used to realize the benefits, challenges, and current situation of NZE buildings. Research results indicate that the construction of NZE buildings is faced with a myriad of challenges, including technical issues, the lack of govern-mental and institutional supports, and the lack of standardized measures. The public awareness of NZE homes has been found to be very low, thus limiting the uptake and adoption of the new technologies used in this type of homes. The present study also recommends that the government and the academic institutions should strive to support the NZE building technology through curriculum changes, technological uptake, and financial incentives to buyers and developers. The implementation of these recommendations may enhance the success and popularity of NZE homes in the GTA.