Deepening Local Know-how about “Zero Energy” Buildings

Deepening Local Know-how about “Zero Energy” Buildings
16 May 2017

“Zero energy” buildings are now a reality. Thanks to highly accessible energy efficiency building technologies coupled with the declining price of solar PV systems, there are now numerous buildings in Utah that are “zero energy” or “zero energy ready”. From everyday homes offered by Garbett Homes and Living Zenith, to community buildings like the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building and two new Salt Lake City fire stations, zero energy buildings are popping up across the Beehive State.

At Utah Clean Energy we are committed to creating a future that ensures healthy, thriving communities for all, empowered and sustained by clean energy. Zero energy buildings are a cornerstone of achieving that vision.

“Zero energy” means that our homes and buildings are designed, built, and operated to dramatically reduce energy consumption and supply all needed from on-site renewable energy systems. These buildings save energy and money, and reduce pollution from day one, helping to improve Utahns’ quality of life for years to come.

Zero energy buildings are energy self-sufficient and more affordable to operate. They will play a central role in addressing our community’s
air quality and climate challenges.

Zero energy buildings are energy self-sufficient and more affordable to operate. They will play a central role in addressing our
community’s air quality and climate challenges. For example,
in 2017 the American Lung Association again ranked the SLC/Provo/Orem area in the top 10 list of most polluted cities
for short term particulate emissions. On a typical winter day, close to 40% of the local air pollution along the Wasatch Front is from emissions caused by our homes, restaurants, commercial buildings, and dry cleaners, etc., and a portion of this is directly from natural gas combustion in buildings. What’s more, energy consumption in Utah’s homes and buildings can contribute well over half of a community’s carbon footprint, making zero energy buildings a critical tool for communities to reduce local and regional emissions that contribute to climate change.

What is a “zero energy building”?

Zero energy homes and buildings are built to be highly energy efficient (through strategies like high insulation levels, natural daylighting, energy efficient lighting, efficient heating and cooling and ventilation, and reduced “plug loads”) and produce as much on-site renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year. This leaves building occupants with a very low energy bill and a carbon emission-free home or building.

Building Local Capacity for Zero Energy Buildings

To accelerate the number of “zero energy” buildings in Utah, Utah Clean Energy recently organized two industry trainings designed to deepen understanding about the many “state of the shelf” technologies that can help homes and buildings reach zero energy status. Each training was supported by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, AIA Utah, and ILFI’s Great Basin Collaborative. A summary of each training is below, along with the workshop presentations and materials.

DOE Zero Enery ready logo

Zero Energy Ready Homes

On March 13, 2017 Utah Clean Energy hosted a Zero Energy Ready Home training hosted by the Utah Home Builders Association, and supported by AIA Utah and the U.S. Department of Energy’s the Zero Energy Ready Home program. Sam Rashkin, Chief Architect of the program, gave a day-long training that included specifications of a Zero Energy Ready Home, business solutions, and recognition resources. Learn more about the Program using the links above and below. You can also take a virtual tour of Garbett Homes’ ZERH-certified Rosecrest and Chandler projects. Redfish Development’s Living Zenith project is another local example of zero energy homes building built in Utah.

Training materials:training1
Zero Energy Ready Home program brochure
Zero Energy Ready Home National Program Requirements
• Zero Energy Ready Home training slides:
      Part 1
      Part 2
      Part 3
      Part 4

Zero Energy Commercial Buildings

opinion dynamics logoOn April 21, 2017 Utah Clean Energy held a Zero Energy Commercial Building Workshop hosted by the Salt Lake Community College’s Energy Institute and sponsored by Opinion Dynamics. The workshop featured a presentation about common building energy systems in zero energy buildings, case studies from local and regional zero energy buildings, and an overview of the recently updated Net Zero Energy Building Certification.
Workshop materials:
Introduction to zero energy buildings
Common building energy systems survey slides
Case study: Arch|Nexus Sacramento Officenet zero certification logo
Case study: Salt Lake City Fire Station #13 (from Blaloc k and Partners)
Video tour: DPR Construction Phoenix office (Requires WebEx installation)
Rocky Mountain Power Wattsmart Business program and design assistance incentives
Net Zero Energy Building Certification and Offsite Renewables Exceptions from the International Living Future Institute