“Net Zero-Energy Building” has become a popular catchphrase to describe the synergy between energy-efficient building and renewable energy utilisation to achieve a balanced energy budget over an annual cycle. Taking into account the energy exchange with a grid overcomes the limitations of energy-autonomous buildings with the need for seasonal energy storage on-site. Although the expression, “Net Zero-Energy Building,” appears in many energy policy documents, a harmonised definition or a standardised balancing method is still lacking. This paper reports on the background and the various effects influencing the energy balance approach. After discussing the national energy code framework in Germany, a harmonised terminology and balancing procedure is proposed. The procedure takes not only the energy balance but also energy efficiency and load matching into account.

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