The Importance of buildings becoming energy efficient and the significance they hold, contributing to global emissions, have been conveyed well by Will Macklay and Macklay Architects.

Maclay Architects has been a very promising firm since its establishment in the 1980s. It is known for its explicit environmentally sustaining projects. It is known across the globe for its prosperous energy efficient Buildings. Since its establishment by Bill Macklay in 1981, it has been active with astounding experimentation and results achieved through multiple projects in sustainable energy buildings. 

Bill Macklay due to his intensive implementation of energy efficiency in Buildings through decades and his contribution to the sustainable building Industry is very much recognised through books and media. He is considered one of the few pioneers who determined to establish solar-powered Buildings through his experiments into projects called the “Solar experimentation “ during the 1970’s. 

This book very briefly explains the evolution of energy-efficient buildings through the decades. It Radiates knowledge and fundamentals carried out for the achievement of such intensive energy-efficient buildings, through the experience of the writer and the firm. And demonstration of such by examples of carried out projects by the firm and the team. 

Book in Focus:The New Net Zero: Leading-Edge Design and Construction of Homes and Buildings for a Renewable Energy Future. By-Bill Macklay - Sheet1
Bill Macklay, Founding Principal, Macklay Architects_©

Fundamentals Expressed 

Book in Focus:The New Net Zero: Leading-Edge Design and Construction of Homes and Buildings for a Renewable Energy Future. By-Bill Macklay - Sheet2
Book Cover, The New Net Zero: Leading-Edge Design and Construction of Homes and Buildings for a Renewable Energy Future_©

The book expresses the fundamentals and defines Energy efficient buildings to their finest. It expresses the fundamentals finely through the experiences and inspiration of the Author and is an excellent documentation of the journey of the Author and his firm. 

The author relates and quotes, “what energy is to civilization, food is to biological organisms”. Also puts insight on though energy is very important to the existence of civilisations, it is very important to not rely on Fossil Fuel and move towards choosing other alternatives for energy usage and generation.  

Macklay Defines the role very clearly that is subjective to the responsibilities for cutting down consumption of energy and envisions it through his work. He talks about switching energy sources to more abundant ones and terms them as “Tomorrow’s energy sources “. 

He clearly states the fundamentals important to understand Net Zero Buildings and for the creation of one. He expresses why and when a building can be clearly defined as a net zero, through concepts and knowledge of EUI and KBTU. EUI means Energy use Intensity and KBTU is a unit of measure used to measure energy use intensity. Buildings having a low EUI number are considered Net Zero Buildings.

He talks about buildings in general and how they never could function without energy but the game is always about changing the sources to renewables and he relates the thought to the projects handled by him. He envisions the transition of a city to a sustainable one and critically puts his thoughts on how it could probably be achieved. He also briefs about the energy conservation standards and puts his critical views on it. 

The author explains why and when a building can be termed Net Zero and its different categories. He explains about Net Zero footprint, Net-Zero project and Net-Zero Property. He puts up NREL’s Research Support Facility as an Example to talk about large-scale net Zero projects and examines it through his critical lens reviewing the performance. 

The author draws a clear distinction between Carbon Neutral and Net Zero. He briefly defines the distinctive criteria for projects to be considered Carbon neutral or Net Zero. And explains that Being Defined as carbon neutral is not much different than Being Net Zero but slightly more additive in definition. 

Book in Focus:The New Net Zero: Leading-Edge Design and Construction of Homes and Buildings for a Renewable Energy Future. By-Bill Macklay - Sheet3
NREL’s Research Support Facility, used as an example in the book  _©

Through several other projects, the author brings to light the fundamentals that help in defining a structure into different coined terms and categories of a sustainable building. He uses examples of Buildings like the Leopold Legacy Centre, The Eastgate Centre, the Bosarge Education Centre and many more. 

The author also introduces Living Buildings and the essence of a living Building. Macklay talks about the wonderful connection between the thermal environment within the building and how indoors can affect the health of dwellers.

In the second part of Macklay’s Book, he talks about the other fundamentals that are related to the nature around and how based on factors like the sun angle or calculating the Heating degree days (HDD) and Cooling Degree days (CDD) one can make a Building super efficient in terms of sustainability and also keep in mind the thermal comfort of the dwellers.

The author also focuses on the technical fundamentals like details of fenestrations, wall details, roof details etc. The material compositions that are to be taken care of for achieving a targeted reduction in energy consumption keep a check on embodied carbon as well as operational energy demands. 

This Book proves to be an amazing Documentation of fundamentals with critical thought through the medium of practical examples which seemingly can prove to be helpful, Guiding many newbies and practitioners in the industry and targeting the performance of a building in terms of sustainability, which is a pressing priority today. 


1.William Macklay and Macklay Architects (2014) The New Net Zero: Leading-Edge Design and Construction of Homes and Buildings for a Renewable Energy Future. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.


Nabaneeta is a Researcher in the field of Building Adaptation to climate change, working on assessment of carbon footprint and carbon emissions. A highly motivated individual to express and create consciousness amongst everyone for climate change. A dedicated individual to express the urgency. She is also a very enthusiastic individual to grow and learn and incorporate different ideas on a variety of subjects.