Decarbonizing the building sector is extremely important to mitigating climate change as the sector contributes 40% of the overall energy consumption and 36% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Net-zero energy buildings are one of the promising decarbonization attempts due to their potential of decreasing the use of energy and increasing the total share of renewable energy. To achieve a net-zero energy building, it is necessary to decrease the energy demand by applying efficiency enhancement measures and using renewable energy sources. Net-zero energy buildings can be classified into four models (Net-Zero Site Energy buildings, Net-Zero Emissions buildings, Net-Zero Source Energy buildings, and Net-Zero Cost Energy buildings). A variety of technical, financial, and environmental factors should be considered during the decision-making process of net-zero energy building development, justifying the use of multi-criteria decision analysis methods for the design of net-zero energy buildings. This paper also discussed the contributions of renewable energy generation (hydropower, wind energy, solar, heat pumps, and bioenergy) to the development of net-zero energy buildings and reviewed its role in tackling the decarbonization challenge. Cost-benefit analysis and life cycle assessment of building designs were reviewed to shape the priorities of future development. It is important to develop a universal decision instrument for optimum design and operation of net-zero energy buildings.