Originally published on the ECOreport.
The first zero-net-energy building in the United States was erected at the beginning of this century. In California, this standard has penetrated the residential market, and every new home will have to produce as much energy as it consumes by 2020. A building in greater Los Angeles goes far beyond that and is expected to generate 185,000 kWh of extra electricity by the end of year one. The Net Zero Plus Electric Training Institute (NZP-ETI) is now modeling the future of energy-efficient building design.
Modeling The Future of Energy-Efficient Building Design
This is possible because of a combination of energy-efficiency design elements and emerging clean energy technologies. The NZP-ETI employs energy-saving devices like:
- 144,000 square feet of LED lighting
- DC lighting capabilities
- Advanced lighting, energy management, and mechanical control systems
- Interactive dashboards with real-time building performance data
- Exterior solar shading wall
- High Solar Reflective Index (SRI) roofing
- Electrochromatic glass
- High-efficiency heating and cooling systems
- High-performance insulation
- Passive ventilation with large, efficient ceiling fans
These design elements are expected to reduce the building’s lighting, heating, and cooling operations enough to cut electrical consumption in half.
A 500 kW rooftop and parking shade structure PV solar array provide the structure’s electricity. Excess energy is fed into a utility scale battery array, which stores enough electricity to power the building of 144 days of partial energy use.
A Living Laboratory
The 144,000-square-foot NZP-ETI is a living laboratory, where 1,500 electrical apprentices, journeymen, and contractors are introduced to some of the latest emerging energy technologies.
“This project is a great example of an owner taking control of their energy costs to improve their building. We look forward to supporting the electrical industry to roll out similar projects across California,” said Michael Bahr, CEO and co-owner of ReNewAll.
“NZP-ETI demonstrates the future of energy-efficiency design, microgrid system integration, renewable energy production, energy storage solutions and grid resiliency,” said Joe Berney, President and co-owner of ReNewAll.
The company financed the $17 million project for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11 and the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
“The NZP ETI provides career development at a national center of excellence in energy technology and training. It will continually evolve with new technologies as the industry continues to grow under the new energy economy,” said Jim Willson, Executive Director of Los Angeles NECA.
US Climate Goals
As buildings currently consume about two-thirds of the nation’s electricity, the NZP ETI is in the vanguard of the USA’s battle to curb the emissions causing the rise in global temperatures.
As former US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz says in the PBS documentary about this building, “We cannot satisfy our climate objectives, in my view, without a very strong demand side effort. If we do not decarbonize our electricity sector, we are going to have a very, very hard time meeting our goals.
Photo Credits: 1) 500 kW rooftop and parking shade structure PV solar array, courtesy Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute; 2) NZP ETI controls, courtesy Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute