Given the urgency to mitigate climate change, an efficient and effective approach is to reduce carbon reduction at the community level. This is more cost-effective than addressing buildings individually because it opens opportunities for both cost-effective economies of scale to deploy renewable energy and other technologies.
While there are currently several low/near net zero-community pilots in existence or in the making, they usually occur in specialized circumstances such as residential subdivisions or model communities, and they tend to focus on technology fixes. To achieve climate change mitigation goals, a more holistic approach is needed that consists of a planning process for existing communities, which integrates energy and resiliency, and involves the utilities. This paper explores common barriers to an integrated process and examines the advantages of a utility-led approach.