Winter 2016


Design Resources

P.S. 62 | Photo Credit: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architects

 "On average, K-12 schools spend more on energy bills than on computers and textbooks combined."    Advanced Energy Retrofit Guide  for Improving Energy Performance in K-12 schools

Zero net energy schools are more and more becoming a valuable commodity that allows significant energy savings to be put back into classrooms, student resources and academic programs.  Since education buildings are the leading type of zero net energy (ZNE) buildings nationally,we're dedicating this edition of the ZNE Action Bulletin to "getting to zero" in schools. 
In this Issue:  
  • See the profiles on two emerging zero net energy New York schools that are innovative examples of how this market is continuing to advance nationwide. 
  • Find out how new funding from California's Proposition 39 ZNE School Retrofits Pilot Program is supporting new ZNE school pilot projects, including five new school case studies, and a series of no-cost technical and institutional trainings across the state. 
  • Follow the seven new school case studies in the works from the California State Architect's new 7x7x7 Design Energy Water Initiative. 
  • Find out about new cutting-edge research including a new report from CABA and NBI on the benefits and challenges of building controls as a crucial strategy in achieving and maintaining ZNE buildings. Further, learn about the status of the NIST zero energy home pilot and recent research on trends in the ZNE homes market from the Net-Zero Energy Coalition.
  • Mark your calendar for national conferences and events including NBI's Getting to Zero Forum in October, the BuildingEnergy Boston Conference next week, and the many ZNE School Retrofit events coming up in the weeks and months to come.
P.S. 62 | Photo Credits: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architects,  James Ewing | OTTO
New York City's First Zero Net Energy K-12 School profile
New York City opened its first ZNE designed school this past fall, Staten Island's P.S. 62 and  the Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, the building is a highly interactive space, inviting its projected 450 Kindergarten through 5th grade students to learn in a variety of spaces including a greenhouse and daylit classrooms. The building incorporates passive daylighting, cooling and heating techniques to lower its energy use, which is supplied by both ground-source heat pumps and photovoltaic systems. Dashboard systems throughout the building give constant feedback to staff and students on the performance of the building. The space provides the school with an opportunity to build hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in to their curriculum in this living lab setting. The building will ramp up to occupancy over for the first five years of operation, starting with Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten the first year, PK-1 the next year and so on. It will be a while before the building and its various energy saving and generating systems can be proven in full occupancy but the building has already garnered much acclaim including the recent "2016 MASterworks Award for Best New Infrastructure"

Cornell University New Zero Net Energy Campus to Open 
Zero net energy is not only for k-12 campuses, colleges have also been enthusiastic early adopters of ZNE buildings and strategies. Cornell University, in partnership with Technion, Israel's Institute of Technology, has broken ground on a 2,000-student campus called Cornell Tech, slated to open in time for the 2017 academic year. The graduate school campus will be on Roosevelt Island, a small strip of land between Manhattan and Queens in the East River. The campus has been designed, building by building, by a variety of firms, all passionate advocates of green building.  The 150,000 square foot Bloomberg Center in particular is designed to be among the largest ZNE buildings in the country, with a passive, energy efficient design, an expansive rooftop photovoltaic array, and geothermal system  that harness the constant temperature of the earth to both warm and cool the building. " Cornell University  has a longstanding commitment to sustainability, and that includes Cornell Tech's developing campus on  Roosevelt Island , which will be among the most energy efficient campuses in the world," said  Diana Allegretti , assistant director for design & construction at Cornell Tech. "Through strong communication and a strongly collaborative relationship,  Cornell , Arup and Morphosis were able to push the boundaries of what can be achieved towards net zero energy on a campus building of this scale."
Learn more: Read more

New CABA Report Highlights Crucial Role of Controls in Achieving ZNE  Buildings
Monitoring and control systems are at the nexus of buildings and successful zero net energy (ZNE) performance, according to a new study released this winter from the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA). The study, "Zero Net Energy Building Controls: Characteristics, Energy Impacts and Lessons," was conducted by NBI to uncover details about how existing and emerging monitoring and control technologies are helping designers, building owners, operators and occupants achieve and maintain ZNE performance.

"Building and system-level controls can be a cornerstone that secures performance, or a weak link that creates challenges for design teams and operators," said CABA President & CEO Ron Zimmer. "ZNE buildings are now moving to the forefront of energy-efficient design and operations, but little is known about the energy-related control systems in these projects. This study focuses on answering questions around control aspects in ZNE buildings." In its examination of the design and system selection process, NBI heard from every project design firm interviewed that controls and early energy targets are critical to getting to ZNE. But, the study also found that most ZNE projects "have some controls problems." The reasons were not based on any specific product, but rather on the process to "get it right" and installation issues. While some firms suggested simplifying processes and avoiding points of failure, the majority said system integration, extensive metering, automation, granular levels of data and feedback are "here to stay" and are "beneficial to the process." Other key findings include: 
  • From both the design team and the operators' perspective, the solutions lie in an increased need for the controls contractor and the building operator to be more actively engaged with the design early, during commissioning and after occupancy. 
  • These buildings are designed to energy-use levels 50% less than most new buildings today and over 75% less than the average existing buildings, with renewables making up the small balance of energy needs. 
  • The majority of design firms attributed HVAC, lighting and plugs each with having a greater than 15% impact on the energy savings, so the success of the control of these systems means the success of the energy goals. 
  • The role of occupants on energy outcomes has never been greater. Fully 74% of the buildings rely on the occupant for some part of the controls success, from roles with operable windows and blinds to plug load controls and energy awareness campaigns. 
"The findings of this study will help manufacturers target improvements, design teams to better integrate controls and work with contractors more effectively, and utilities to identify program priorities leading to a next generation of buildings that can be on the path to zero," said NBI CEO Ralph DiNola. 

CPUC Commercial ZNE Strategic Plan Workshop Summary

This past fall, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) hosted a stakeholder workshop to inform the development of the New Commercial ZNE Strategic Plan Chapter Update. The meeting included presentations and small working groups to inform the new directions for the Strategic Plan updates to the commercial buildings priorities and actions.

Questions? Contact:
California ZNE Watchlist Tracks Progress  in Zero Energy Buildings
California leads the nation in zero energy verified and emerging buildings. With support from the California Public Utilities Commission, NBI produces a triennial publication of the ZNE Watch List. Contact us to be on the notice list for updates so you can hear about the most recent ZNE 
project counts, performance numbers and new ZNE verified 
and emerging buildings

Updates on ZNE Early Adopter Leadership Network

ZNE Leaders on Tour: Packard Foundation in Palo Alto
Left to right: Ralph DiNola, NBI; John Dale and Gerard Lee from HED Architects; Erik Pearson, City of Hayward; Jackie Falconio, San Mateo County; Robert Cormia, Foothill College; Susan Wright, San Mateo County; Chie Kawahara, ZNE Homeowner; Peter Turnbull, PG&E, Sam Rashkin, DOE Zero Energy Homes Program.
This past year, the ZNE Leadership Network met four times at different workshops across the state. Hundreds of early adopters gathered to learn how to create zero net energy  buildings for  retrofits and new construction projects. 

Most notable was the ZNE for Local Governments Workshop facilitated by NBI in partnership with San Mateo County Energy Watch, Pacific Gas & Electric, with support from the California Public Utilities Commission. The workshop was attended by approximately 75 local government leaders from around the County. Participants heard case studies on the new 435 Indio ZNE commercial building retrofit project in Sunnyvale, California and the Berkeley W. Branch Public Library, which had just received Net Zero (NZ) Certification from the  International Living Future Institute  (ILFI). Following several technical presentations, workshop attendees collaborated in small groups to strategize approaches to integrate ZNE into their policies and plans, engage stakeholders, and create ZNE portfolios and pilots. After the workshop, attendees took a tour of the David & Lucille Packard Foundation Headquarters, another ILFI NZ Certified project, to experience the beauty of ZNE design approaches first hand.

For additional information about tools and zero energy resources available to support California ZNE buildings, visit: .

Want to connect with the ZNE Leadership Network?
Join the  LinkedIn Group   of public sector leaders and design consultants actively pursuing ZNE buildings, portfolios and/or policies.

Webinar & Call for ZNE Pilots: Prop 39 Zero Net Energy School Retrofits 
March 7, 10:00-11:00 am PST - Register Now!
The California Investor Owned Utilities have launched the second round of the Proposition 39 ZNE School Retrofit Pilots. The upcoming webinar will provide an overview and more information on how to participate.  Final submission of the Questionnaire is due March 31 at 5:00 pm.  For more information:  Register for the Webinar

Building Energy Boston 2016 Conference
March 8 - March 10 Boston, MA
The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) hosts this cross-disciplinary renewable energy and high-performance building conference in the northeastern United States for sustainable design, green building, and renewable energy professionals. BuildingEnergy presents hundreds of hours of educational sessions and workshops over three days. Learn more: | Register

Call for Speakers: Getting to Zero 2016 National Forum 
October 12 - October 14 | Denver, CO
Speaker submissions due: March 14
The 2016 Getting to Zero National Forum is seeking speakers! This event gathers leading designers, owners, operators, commercial real estate professionals, policymakers, manufacturers and others to share perspectives on the growth of zero net energy (ZNE), discuss the policies driving new projects, engage in best practices for successful outcomes and collaborate on opportunities for ZNE to transform the built environment.
Learn more  |   Register

Upcoming Zero Net Energy School Retrofit Workshops

A series of upcoming, no-cost interactive workshops are being offered to explain how California's K-12 schools and community colleges can achieve ZNE through whole-building retrofits.
ZNE Technical Training for School & Building Industry Professionals (5 AIA CEUs)       
April 18, San Francisco | Pacific Energy Center
May 9, San Diego | SDG&E Energy Innovation Center

ZNE & the School Community for Administrators and Stakeholders (2 AIA CEUs)
March 14, San Mateo | Office of Education
April 20, Sacramento | Green Technology Summit
April 27, Webinar format, will also be available on-demand
May 10, San Diego | SDG&E Energy Innovation Center   

About the Workshops: These workshops are part of an investor-owned utility (IOU) zero net energy pilot program aimed at leveraging California's Proposition 39 dollars to test how some of the state's existing K-12 and community college buildings can be transformed into ZNE facilities.  Full-day technical sessions will focus on best practices in design and operations. Half-day school community workshops will cover design approaches, planning and financing.

Who should Attend: School administrators, operations managers, business officers, construction managers, community stakeholders, building designers, operations staff and others interested in ZNE are invited to attend. 

Space is limited, so please register and reserve your spot today:

DSA 7x7x7 Design Energy Water
The California Department of General Services (DGS) Division of the State Architect (DSA) in partnership with the American Institute of Architects (AIA-CC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) recently completed a forward-thinking new initiative to highlight ways to improve the built environment while simultaneously greening California's aging school facilities with design concepts that will reduce energy and water consumption at campuses across the state. The initiative, dubbed 7x7x7: Design Energy Water, has engaged seven noted architectural firms to develop seven case studies in sustainable school design, for seven representative school campuses.  Learn More:  Watch the Video | Visit the Website

Department of Energy  Race to Zero Student Design Competition
The Energy Department is encouraging students from all collegiate institutions to be a part of a new leadership movement to achieve truly sustainable homes. Continuing to build on the momentum from previous years, the 2016 U.S. Department of Energy Race to Zero Student Design Competition will be held April 16-17, 2016, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.  34 teams from 27 collegiate institutions have been invited to compete.Up to 10 teams will be selected to compete in each category. Through this competition, future architects, engineers, construction managers, and entrepreneurs will gain the skills and experience to start careers in clean energy and generate creative solutions to real-world problems. 
More information

Free Webinar, watch on-demand: Making the Financial Case for Net Zero 
This 60-minute webinar will present findings from the recently completed Net Zero Energy Feasibility Study, a collaborative effort led by Efficiency Vermont and Maclay Architects. Commissioned for use by designers, developers, contractors, consultants, and building owners, it provides a detailed look at the financial benefit of building beyond code requirements to net zero energy standards.
Report and on-demand webinar
Update on NIST's ZNE Home Pilot
As reported in the Summer 2014 edition of the Bulletin, the National Institute of Standards and Technology had a successful  test of the  ZNE home pilot performance. The home generated as much energy as it used, and even contributed excess energy to the grid. More success has come from this pilot home through high  air-quality performance alongside its achievement of efficiency goals. These accomplishments are documented in the design team's report "High Performance Indoor Air Quality Specification for Net Zero Energy Homes".  Download report  
New Report on Zero Energy Homes: A Growing Trend
The Net-Zero Energy Coalition has taken an inventory of buildings on the path to zero energy across the United States and Canada. Overall, there are 3,339 residential buildings on the path to zero energy represents almost 1% of 2014 housing starts and demonstrates fair market penetration. The 6,177 units documented by the study is equivalent to eliminating close to 10,800 cars per year and 5.8 million gallons of gasoline. No longer a market niche, zero energy has officially arrived with a market growth projected to rise to $1.4 trillion by 2035.  Read More  

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