Chelsea Green Publishing

The New Net Zero

Pages:576 pages
Size: 10 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603584487
Pub. Date June 30, 2014

The New Net Zero

Leading-Edge Design and Construction of Homes and Buildings for a Renewable Energy Future

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
June 30, 2014


The new threshold for green building is not just low energy, it’s net-zero energy. In The New Net Zero, sustainable architect Bill Maclay charts the path for designers and builders interested in exploring green design’s new frontier net-zero-energy structures that produce as much energy as they consume and are carbon neutral.

 In a nation where traditional buildings use roughly 40 percent of the total fossil energy, the interest in net-zero building is growing enormously–among both designers interested in addressing climate change and consumers interested in energy efficiency and long-term savings. Maclay, an award-winning net-zero designer whose buildings have achieved high-performance goals at affordable costs, makes the case for a net-zero future; explains net-zero building metrics, integrated design practices, and renewable energy options; and shares his lessons learned on net-zero teambuilding.

Designers and builders will find a wealth of state-of-the-art information on such considerations as air, water, and vapor barriers; embodied energy; residential and commercial net-zero standards; monitoring and commissioning; insulation options; costs; and more.

The comprehensive overview is accompanied by several case studies, which include institutional buildings, commercial projects, and residences.  Both new-building and renovation projects are covered in detail. 

The New Net Zero is geared toward professionals exploring net-zero design, but also suitable for nonprofessionals seeking ideas and strategies on net-zero options that are beautiful and renewably powered.


The New Net Zero illustrates what’s possible today and provides a wealth of building examples, information, and know-how for designers and builders as we move to phase out carbon emissions in the built environment.”--Edward Mazria, FAIA, FRAIC; founder and CEO, Architecture 2030

“We have the tools, as this gorgeous book shows, to imagine a new future. The question is whether we have the will—and the power of these images may go some ways toward creating that precious resource.”--Bill McKibben, founder,; author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“Bill Maclay is both a talented designer and a passionate advocate of net-zero and energy-positive buildings. In The New Net Zero he has defined the path to success by presenting aesthetically compelling, energy-self-reliant buildings and by clearly building the case that net zero is, by far, the preferred approach both economically as well as environmentally.”--Steven J. Strong, president, Solar Design Associates; author of The Solar Electric House

“Maclay Architects have focused their entire business model on net zero and have written one of the most in-depth and definitive books, The New Net Zero, on net-zero design and construction applicable to commercial buildings.”--Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, US Green Building Council

“The global carbon/climate challenge is huge. This book shows a clear path to success—from global vision to concrete strategies, technology, and practices. This book completely demystifies how to get to net zero and shows what thoughtful, integrated design can accomplish on a wide range of building types. This is a unique book in showing that net zero is readily achievable with today’s technology. These buildings save money over fossil-fuel buildings and can be (are) beautiful and healthy. Read this. Learn this. And get going with the important work ahead of us all.”--Gunnar Hubbard, FAIA, LEED Fellow; principal and sustainability practice leader, Thornton Tomasetti

“A magnum opus of net-zero-energy design and construction, chock full of excellent detail and inspiration. Bill is a great sage of the net zero energy movement, and his wisdom comes through on every page. The New Net Zero is very readable, and beautiful as well. I learn something every time I read it—highly recommended.”--Brad Liljequist, AICP, LEED AP; net zero energy director, International Living Future Institute; author of The Power of Zero: Learning from the World’s First Net Zero Energy Buildings

"Design is the first signal of human intention. Thoreau once wrote, 'What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?” Bill Maclay thoroughly describes an intentional architect’s Platonic search for truth in beauty and Aristotelian search for truth in science with a Hippocratic oath to seek to 'do no harm.'  With this fine book he provides a robust foundation for buildings that can rise up to become beneficial to people, place and planet."--William McDonough, coauthor of Cradle to Cradle and The Upcycle, founder of Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute

“This book will become a game changer at a pivotal point in history. The New Net Zero is a technical manifesto that brings together engineering, ecology, architecture, energy, the construction industry, transportation, and design into a coherent whole. Its goal is to transform the built environment into landscapes that heal, while reversing climate change. Immensely practical, thorough, and technologically comprehensive: it is a masterful job.”--John Todd, founder, John Todd Ecological Designs

"The New Net Zero is a thorough philosophical and technical rendering of the subject. What makes it exciting and meaningful is that it is not just about the details and technology, it also demonstrates how it is essential to build on human and other natural-system relationships to succeed. There is hope in these pages; this book goes a long way to prove that a sustainable future is possible and practical."--Bill Reed, coauthor of The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building and president of the Integrative Design Collaborative

"The New Net Zero is a treasure trove of design and construction knowledge gleaned over a 40-year career in creating leading-edge, net-zero-energy and near-net-zero-energy buildings of all types and sizes. Detailed, practical information on design is interspersed with beautifully illustrated case studies of Maclay's projects. If I could recommend only one book on low-energy, green building today, this would be it."--Alex Wilson, founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and president of the Resilient Design Institute 

"The New Net Zero is comprehensive, authoritative, beautifully written, well illustrated, and incredibly timely. With the effects of climate change escalating rapidly, moving away from fossil-fuel energy has become desperately necessary. The good news is that it has now become possible to cost effectively power our buildings entirely with renewable energy sources, and this is the best book yet about why and how to build net-zero buildings. Maclay and his team have long been leaders in proving the net-zero proposition, and he has gracefully delivered a detailed manual for the big design and building breakthrough that can happen now."--Tedd Benson, founder of Bensonwood & Unity Homes and author of Building the Timber Frame House, The Timber-Frame Home, and Timberframe


  • Winner - PubWest Book Design Awards - Silver in Large Format Cover Design Category - 2015


Bill Maclay

Bill Maclay, founder and president of Maclay Architects, has been a lecturer and educator at colleges, universities, and conferences focused on environmental design. He is also past president of the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and has served on the board of directors of the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, among other organizations.
Maclay and his firm have long been involved in research on all aspects of environmental design, including sustainable design, indoor air quality, building science, material selection, and related issues. Maclay committed to using renewable energy to create a nonfossil-fuel-based future in 1970. He developed, designed, and built one of the first renewable communities in the US, and his innovative renewable and energy-conserving projects have been exhibited and published internationally. Maclay Architects’ projects range from single-family residences to multifamily residential, commercial, and institutional projects.
Maclay has a BA from Williams College and a master of architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. 
Maclay Architects is located in Waitsfield, Vermont.


Bill Maclay Speaking at Yestermorrow Event 02-22-11

Bill Maclay Speaking at Yestermorrow Event 02-22-11


Confronting Collapse

Confronting Collapse

By Michael C. Ruppert

The book that inspired the movie Collapse.

The world is running short of energy-especially cheap, easy-to-find oil. Shortages, along with resulting price increases, threaten industrialized civilization, the global economy, and our entire way of life.

In Confronting Collapse, author Michael C. Ruppert, a former LAPD narcotics officer turned investigative journalist, details the intricate connections between money and energy, including the ways in which oil shortages and price spikes triggered the economic crash that began in September 2008. Given the 96 percent correlation between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions and the unlikelihood of economic growth without a spike in energy use, Ruppert argues that we are not, in fact, on the verge of economic recovery, but on the verge of complete collapse.

Ruppert's truth is not merely inconvenient. It is utterly devastating.

But there is still hope. Ruppert outlines a 25-point plan of action, including the creation of a second strategic petroleum reserve for the use of state and local governments, the immediate implementation of a national Feed-in Tariff mandating that electric utilities pay 3 percent above market rates for all surplus electricity generated from renewable sources, a thorough assessment of soil conditions nationwide, and an emergency action plan for soil restoration and sustainable agriculture.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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Confronting Collapse

Michael C. Ruppert, Colin Campbell

Paperback $15.00

Serious Straw Bale

Serious Straw Bale

By Paul Lacinski and Michel Bergeron

In 1994, when Chelsea Green published The Straw Bale House, the response from many people was a loud, "Huh?!"

Those days are gone. With more than 100,000 copies sold, and straw bale projects underway in most regions of North America, we've entered a new era. Even building-code officials and insurance companies now look favorably upon straw bale buildings, with their extraordinary energy efficiency and wise use of agricultural waste for construction materials.

Bergeron and Lacinski's new book Serious Straw Bale is the first to look carefully at the specific design considerations critical to success with a straw bale building in more extreme climates-where seasonal changes in temperature, precipitation, and humidity create special stresses that builders must understand and address. The authors draw upon years of experience with natural materials and experimental techniques, and present a compelling rationale for building with straw-one of nature's most resilient, available, and affordable byproducts.

For skeptics and true believers, this book will prove to be the latest word.

  • Thorough explanations of how moisture and temperature affect buildings in seasonal climates, with descriptions of the unique capacities of straw and other natural materials to provide warmth, quiet, and comfort year-round.
  • Comprehensive comparison of the two main approaches to straw bale construction: "Nebraska-style," where bales bear the weight of the roof, and framed structures, where bales provide insulation.
  • Detailed advice-including many well-considered cautions-for contractors, owner-builders, and designers, following each stage of a bale-building process.

This is a second-generation straw bale book, for those seeking serious information to meet serious challenges while adventuring in the most fun form of construction to come along in several centuries.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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Serious Straw Bale

Paul Lacinski, Michel Bergeron

Paperback $34.95

Energy Revolution

Energy Revolution

By Howard Johns

We need a global energy revolution. In developed nations we are wasting massive quantities of energy providing heat and light to our homes and businesses while one and a half billion people have no access to electricity at all. The existing central-power-station model is based on old technology that spews carbon, energy, and money straight up the chimney.

Energy Revolution shows us how we can change all of this. Telling stories from around the world of the change that’s already happening and drawing on two decades of his own unique experience, Howard Johns demonstrates how we can develop our own renewable-energy projects to provide local energy and create a new fleet of businesses.

He shows us how communities can build local energy solutions—renewable-power stations that will be a new form of building society where we come together to develop, finance, and construct the infrastructure that we and future generations so desperately need.

Howard Johns explains how to design, set up, and fund community energy systems, citing examples from countries that already have cut the amount of energy they use and supply their needs from renewable energy. These new systems will create new jobs and businesses, reduce energy imports, and create new local-investment models.

This handbook contains the map we need to change the system from the bottom up and make the next great leap forward to achieving clean, affordable energy. It covers everything needed to structure your community power company—the technology, site assessment, legal and business planning, fundraising and financial modeling, and putting people at the heart of your strategy. It’s time to take control, re-localize, reduce costs and carbon emissions, and join the energy revolution.

Available in: Paperback

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Energy Revolution

Howard Johns

Paperback $29.95

Wind Energy for the Rest of Us

Wind Energy for the Rest of Us

By Paul Gipe

Wind Energy for the Rest of Us straddles two—or more—worlds. The book is about wind energy. It’s not just about small wind turbines. It’s not just about large wind turbines. It’s about the depth and breadth of wind energy, encompassing more than either type of wind turbine. It includes water-pumping windmills and sailing ships. It’s a sprawling book, one minute discussing how to install small wind turbines safely, the next explaining how farmers in Indiana can earn millions by installing their own multimegawatt wind turbines. If it’s a book hard to categorize, that suits its author, Paul Gipe, who likes to think he’s hard to categorize after four decades at the frontiers of renewable energy. His book tells the story of modern wind energy in all its complexity and introduces a North American audience to the trailblazing electricity rebels who have launched a renewable energy revolution in Europe.

The book debunks novel wind turbines their promoters claim will generate electricity “too cheap to meter,” and rebukes revisionist historians who falsely argue that it was the aerospace industry that delivered today’s modern wind turbines.

Gipe explains why new wind turbines are part of a silent revolution that is changing the way we use wind energy. This revolution doesn’t garner headlines, but is making wind turbines more cost-effective in more places than ever before, lessening the need for new transmission lines, obviating the need for storage, and fueling rapid growth.

Gipe refutes many common myths surrounding wind energy and argues persuasively that wind turbines are productive, effective, and environmentally sound. Gipe argues that wind energy is too important to be left to electric utilities and their subsidiaries alone. Wind energy is also for the rest of us, he says. It is our resource. We can develop it and we can own it—ourselves.

Available in: Paperback

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Wind Energy for the Rest of Us

Paul Gipe

Paperback $65.00