The ECOreport looks at how America’s largest net zero plus building illustrates the future of energy efficient design
By Roy L Hales
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. The Net Zero Plus Electric Training Institute (NZP-ETI), in Greater Los Angeles, goes further. America’s largest net zero plus building is expected to generate an additional 185,000 KWh of electricity by the end of year one.
America’s Largest Net Zero Plus Building
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 structures 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 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.
Their company financed the $17M 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.
U.S. Climate Goals
As buildings currently consume about two thirds of the nation’s electricity, the NZP ETI is in the van of the United States’ battle to curb the emissions causing the rise in global temperatures.
As former U.S. 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.
Top Photo Credit: NZP ETI Dashboards yrack real-time analytics on energy generation, consumption, and storage with our advanced energy monitoring and evaluation system. – courtesy Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute