Net Zero Concepts and Definitions
Net Zero and Net Positive (NZ/NP) strategies emphasize taking a systems approach to reduce water, energy, and waste footprints in installations and communities. These NZ/NP strategies provide long-term solutions for sustainability and resilience by meeting the environmental objectives of clean air and water, and reducing or eliminating waste sent to landfill, while ensuring the long-term viability of resources is not only maintained but also improved. At their core, NZ/NP strategies represent "sustainability in action".
Net Zero means consuming only as much energy as is produced, achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and demand, and eliminating solid waste sent to landfills.
Achieving Net Zero Water means limiting the consumption of water resources and returning it back to the same watershed so as not to deplete the resources of that region in quantity or quality over the course of the year.
Achieving Net Zero Energy means producing, from renewable resources, as much energy on site as is used over the course of a year. Achieving Net Positive Energy means producing, from renewable resources, more energy on site than is used over the course of a year.
Achieving Net Zero Waste means reducing, reusing, and recovering waste streams to convert them to valuable resources with zero solid waste sent to landfills over the course of the year.
Definitions adapted from US Army Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment.