A promising new movement is zero net energy (or net zero energy) buildings. Earlier this week in our area, PG&E, the electric utility, hosted a zero net energy (ZNE) building workshop with ASHRAE, an organization that has worked for decades on heating, cooling, and building ventilation standards. NREL has a group that's gathered ZNE case studies, and PG&E is currently conducting a ZNE pilot program (with details and offerings still TBD).
California has already made its recommendations: Zero Net Energy for new residential construction by 2020 and commercial by 2030. And Massachusetts is similar:
You might say this is the triumph of common sense. Clearly if we have an immense climate change challenge with our existing building stock, we cannot continue to build as we have and create additional load on the system. Get your state on the 2020 bus now!