Net Zero Energy Buildings Popping Up Nationwide
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Energy, a building certification program initiated by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), is now known as Zero Energy (ZE) Building Certification. ZE, in partnership with the New Buildings Institute (NBI), advocates for improved energy performance in commercial buildings, while ILFI administers certification of ZE buildings.
To be certified as ZE, a building must have 12 consecutive months of zero energy performance for a project, without the use of onsite combustion. Improved solar, lighting, HVAC and building-envelope technology — along with the lowering of certification fees — have made zero energy a more realistic goal for many buildings.
The City of Cincinnati announced this week that its District Three Police Station will become the first Net Zero Energy police station in the country. Sustainable accolades for the project include a compact building footprint, an advanced storm water system, extensive drought-tolerant landscaping, a roof covered in photovoltaics and 40 geo-exchange wells.
And in Texas, sustainable home improvement company TreeHouse will open the world’s first energy-positive home improvement store in Dallas. The store is outfitted with 539 rooftop solar panels and two Tesla Powerwalls, which generate energy in excess of its needs. Energy not used by TreeHouse will be put back into the power grid for use by other businesses and residents in the area.
The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery energy storage product that uses solar power to charge, providing for an off-the-grid power alternative.