Going for the Gold: This Week Net Zero Pioneer Gets LEED Stamp

Going for the Gold: This Week Net Zero Pioneer Gets LEED Stamp

Going for the Gold: This Week Net Zero Pioneer Gets LEED Stamp

This week marks a historic moment for the exploding net zero industry.

The Alameda County Electrical JATC in Northern California just achieved LEED Gold Certification for their super sustainable home base in San Leandro, dubbed the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Center.

When completed three years ago the 45,000-square-foot center became one of the largest zero energy building renovations in California and the U.S. This latest LEED Gold stamp shows just how much energy this kind of design saves.

The ZNE Center generates all of its energy on-site, producing an excess of 69,071 kWh over modeled calculations in its first year of operations and a net savings of more than $15,000/yr in energy bills.

The carbon footprint reduction is equal to saving a whopping 500 barrels of oil or eliminating 30 gas-burning vehicles from US roads annually.

We had the honor of working on this project alongside other industry pros in the sustainability, architecture, construction and renewable energy fields (FCGA Architects, Belden Consulting Engineers, NOVO Construction, Energy ETC, Red Top Electric, ACCO Mechanical, and Cubed Energy Solutions). The Owner’s team, led by ZNEC Training Director Byron Benton, provided the vision and direction which made the project possible.

The tenant, which reps the electrical industry, wanted to walk the sustainable talk via this project. The educational facility, sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 595 (IBEW) and the Northern California Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), supports over 2,000 apprentice and journey-level electricians in Alameda County.

The ZNE Center leads the nation’s sustainable building standards by meeting the California Energy Commission’s 2030 Net Zero Energy Challenge—17 years ahead of time.

Looking to get ahead on your own net zero energy certification? Thanks to industry advances, the process is now easier than ever. We have all the technology, financial tools and implementation methods to make zero energy buildings profitable today.

In addition, you don’t need to work with new construction.

This project involved an intense rehab of an existing suburban office building from 1982, proving that even aging buildings are net zero worthy—and doable on a budget.

Despite its decades-old shell, the ZNE Center construction costs were equivalent to traditional construction methods, and it earned a dollar-for-dollar appraisal on its high performance building improvements.

The successful integration of all the ZNE Center systems hinges upon the building automation system (BAS), which gathers, stores and reports data at 60 second intervals, and is used to control and integrate otherwise non-integrated systems. That means a 50% drop in lighting usage and 80% reduction in HVAC power.

This particular one is designed to achieve a 75% energy-use reduction compared to similar existing commercial U.S. buildings and 29% energy-use reduction compared to new commercial construction in California.

Next week at GreenerBuilder 2016 stok’s Michael Hummel will walk you through how to erect this kind of center. You’ll be able to see the elements first hand, as the daylong USGBC Northern California conference is on site.

Attendees will be involved in an open dialogue regarding some of the latest developments in the ZNE movement, including façade-mounted renewables, human behavior modification, building performance feedback systems, hybrid renewables, zero carbon accounting, monitoring-based commissioning and systems tuning.

Come 2030 these kinds of buildings will be required by law in the state to improve the health of the environment. Health benefits permeate past the physical walls and ducts to positively impact those working on and in these projects. Expect fulfilled and morally aligned team members as a result.