Scope boundary or the “balance boundary” decides the energy uses to be balanced in a NZEB. Operational and embodied energy are the two determinants of the scope boundary. If emissions neutrality is the basis for accounting, then again, both operational emissions and embodied emissions can be the basis for deciding the scope boundary.

Energy use due to building cooling and heating, lighting, ventilation and appliances are the default operational energy uses without which the energy balance of a NZEB cannot be verified. Other operational energy uses like irrigation and rain water harvesting systems, charging of electric vehicles can also be added to this category for a more comprehensive quantification of building operational energy footprint.

Embodied energy use (energy in extraction, production and in cases, transportation of materials and products) allows a holistic accounting of the environmental impact of NZEBs.