Community and Regional Planning Program


Date of this Version

Winter 11-19-2012


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning, Major: Community and Regional Planning, Under the Supervision of Professor Zhenghong Tang. Lincoln, Nebraska: November, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Nan Zhao


While energy-related issue is conventionally recognized as a large-scale issue to human and natural environment, few researches directly focus on local-level policies and strategies on energy efficiency. This thesis mainly aims to explain how to establish Net-Zero Energy Communities (NZECs) in the respective of local planning and policy. Based on the innovation adoption theory and key factors of NZECs, this study firstly establishes a practical protocol to assist local jurisdictions to develop high-quality local comprehensive plans (LCPs) to promote the development of NZECs. Then, through assessing the capacities of LCPs for local energy efficiency in Oregon, the strengths and weaknesses of current LCPs are identified. The results of this thesis imply that LCPs in Oregon have limited capacities for local energy efficiency. At last, this thesis states a set of recommendations, including showing the possible path for the development of NZECs in local planning and policy respective, building a solid factual basis of local energy consumption, taking full advantages of local planning tools to address energy-related issues in various fields of local development, and enhancing the implementation and monitoring process with innovative tools and policies.

Advisor: Zhenghong Tang