Review of global research advances towards net-zero emissions buildings

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Net-zero emissions buildings (NZEBs) are essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change. Several studies have been conducted on NZEBs. However, a thorough exploration of the literature is lacking. This study aims to systematically and comprehensively explore the state-of-the-art in NZEBs research, and to provide recommendations about research gaps and future research directions. Adopting mixed-methods, first, a quantitative bibliometric analysis was conducted on 2724 articles retrieved from Scopus. Results indicated that the year 2006 marked the beginning of the current steady and gradual increase in NZEBs research. Main research themes include energy efficiency, zero energy building, life cycle assessment, embodied energy, building simulation, and residential buildings. Influential jurisdictions and outlets were identified. Second, a further qualitative systematic analysis was performed of 528 carefully selected articles, to identify gaps in the existing knowledge. Based on identified gaps, this study suggested future research directions, including (1) strategies for existing buildings retrofit, (2) promotion of NZEBs at the neighborhood scale, (3) innovative business models for delivering NZEBs, and (4) stakeholder partnership and synergies in promoting NZEBs. The findings of this study provide an understanding of the state-of-the-art development and future needs of NZEBs research, equipping researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to hone and promote the research towards achieving the global net-zero target by 2050.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112142
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • Bibliometric-qualitative analysis
  • Climate change
  • Net-zero
  • Net-zero emissions buildings
  • NZEBs
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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