Environmental and resource limitations provide increased motivation for design of net-zero energy or net-zero CO2 buildings. The optimum building design will have the lowest lifecycle cost. This paper describes a method of performing and comparing lifecycle costs for standard, CO2-neutral and net-zero energy buildings. Costs of source energy are calculated based on the cost of photovoltaic systems, tradable renewable certificates, CO2 credits and conventional energy. Building energy simulation is used to determine building energy use. A case study is conducted on a proposed net-zero energy house. The paper identifies the least-cost net-zero energy house, the least-cost CO2 neutral house, and the overall least-cost house. The methodology can be generalized to different climates and buildings. The method and results may be of interest to builders, developers, city planners, or organizations managing multiple buildings.

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