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Zero Net Energy Center Houses Energy Training

May 31, 2013 By Linda Hardesty

Zero Net CenterThe Zero Net Energy Center in San Leandro, Calif., opened yesterday, and its owners say the commercial building retrofit meets the US Department of Energy’s requirements for a “zero net energy” building.

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) retrofitted the 46,000-sq-foot structure as an educational facility for 2,000 electrical workers that will participate in a program run by IBEW Local 595 and the Northern California Chapter of NECA.

The energy efficiency statistics for the retrofit include:

  • 50 percent lighting energy reduction through daylighting, occupancy sensors, LEDs and solar tubes
  • 80 percent HVAC energy reduction
  • 90 percent computer energy reduction by upgrading equipment to Energy Star
  • 75 percent reduction in energy use compared to similar US buildings
  • 29 percent energy use reduction compared to new commercial construction in California.

Building features that are used to make the center net zero are also incorporated into the curriculum at the center where students will study technologies in wind, solar, lighting and building automation systems.

In addition to DOE net-zero status, the center also exceeds the State of California’s 2030 energy efficiency effort by meeting the zero net goal 17 years in advance, and it also exceeds the energy conservation goals of the Obama administration’s Better Buildings Challenge.

Several new buildings have been constructed as net-zero facilities, but some have found it difficult to live up to the name.



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