Steps toward the zero net energy (ZNE) goal continue to be made by the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and the New Buildings Institute (NBI). The group states that 108 new and renovated commercial buildings received verification by producing as much energy as they consumed or are working toward that objective.
Looking to improve upon their current successes, the groups look to add more buildings to their ZNE roster, specifically targeting K-12 schools and community colleges.
Projects on the ZNE Watchlist show there is a wide range in size and locations across the state, with offices and education buildings leading the way. More attention is being given to reducing energy in K-12 schools and community colleges for both new and existing projects. Energy bills at California’s K-12 public schools total more than $700 million a year and innovative energy saving solutions are needed to manage spending. Schools built and renovated to ZNE standards have significantly lower energy costs and in the long term, save money on energy bills that can better spent on students.
“Zero net energy performance is a clear and tangible aspirational goal for buildings that translates directly into operational savings for building owners and represents direct action on climate change,” says Ralph DiNola, CEO of New Buildings Institute. “That is why we are seeing so much activity in the education sector.”