FROM THE DESK OF DAVID BERNETT NEMIC Administrator
Zeroing In on the Zero Net Energy Market
Packard Foundation building.
Photo courtesy Western Allied Mechanical
At the David and Lucile Packard Foundation headquarters in Los Altos, California, more than 900 rooftop solar panels produce electricity. Inside the LEED Platinum-certified building, a chilled beam system supports energy-efficient heating and cooling.
According to SMACNA News, those features and more play a role in making the 49,000-square-foot facility one of roughly 500 documented zero net energy (ZNE) buildings in the United States. To qualify as ZNE, a building can use only as much energy as can be produced on-site via renewable sources, such as solar power and wind energy.
The ZNE approach is gaining momentum across the country as owners and developers face pressure from regulators and the market to supply new construction and retrofits that are more energy efficient. Contractors can play a major role in helping projects qualify for ZNE status by collaborating with clients to design more energy-efficient HVAC systems.
Energy efficiency is gaining momentum
The Packard building is running ahead of the curve in California, where energy code requirements now state that any new building built after 2030 must conform to net zero standards.