Net-Zero Feasible in D.C.

06/02/2014 |

Capital sustainability ideas

Net zero energy targets

A new study finds that D.C. could slash energy use by 50% if the district promotes zero energy, zero water, and living buildings.

What if the Smithsonian, the White House, and the Lincoln Memorial were completely self-sufficient with water and energy?

While the District of Columbia is already home to more green buildings per capita than other large cities in the U.S., a new report sheds light on how the capitol can incentivize zero energy, zero water, and living buildings.

Taking the next step beyond LEED standards, the district could slash energy use by half from 2010 levels by 2032. Other benefits include:

  • For a 1-3% added initial cost of construction, new developments could save up to 60% of their energy consumption.
  • The return on investment for deep energy efficiency is 6-12%. This rises to 33-36% when modeled for net-zero energy using solar power.
  • Advanced water conservation measures to reduce potable consumption and stormwater runoff from the buildings cost 1-3% yet conserve 45-60% of the water usage and have a return on investment of 5-10%.
  • Stormwater retention measures included in the costs mentioned above eliminate stormwater runoff from most weather events and allow buildings to retain water during catastrophic storm, making the district more resilient against climate change.

The study, Net Zero and Living Building Financial Study: A Cost Comparison Report for Buildings in the District of Columbia, conceptually transformed three LEED v3 Platinum designed buildings to net-zero energy, net-zero water, and Living Building Challenge standards. Its scope focused on three common building types: office new construction, multifamily new construction, and office renovation.

A set of energy conservation strategies and rainwater harvesting techniques were applied to each building to arrive at reduced energy and water usage before photovoltaics and water reuse strategies were applied. The research was conducted by New Buildings Institute, International Living Future Institute, and Skanska.

To encourage more deep green projects, the report recommends that D.C. update energy codes, provide additional incentives for sustainable buildings, revise net metering policies, and identify and remove regulatory impediments.

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See how professionals like you are taking advantage of the highest performing precision cooling system for their computer rooms and data centers, and why Data Aire is fast-becoming the number one choice for facility managers and building owners looking to decrease their energy consumption. 

Data Aire understands how digital technology and data gravity is rapidly impacting and transforming businesses. That’s why they developed ultra-efficient cooling technology to support the most modern (and not-so-modern) data centers.  Learn how One Wilshire in Los Angeles, one of the most advanced carrier hotels today, is surpassing California's strict energy efficiency requirements with Data Aire’s purpose-built system, which provide full-economization for 260 days – almost 72% of the year. That’s a measurable savings! Furthermore, the projected PUE on an annual basis for a full load is at or below 1.2.


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