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Green/Net Zero Buildings

Infographic | Road Map to Net Zero Energy In Existing Commercial BuildingsNet zero energy buildings are becoming more mainstream as technologies and processes improve, and renewable energy becomes less costly. Increasingly, innovators are focusing on how to take existing buildings to net zero.
Whether for new or existing buildings, getting to net zero means first maximizing energy efficiency, then adding renewable generation to cover remaining energy needs. The process of taking an existing building to net zero energy is similar to that for a deep energy retrofit, but with some additional considerations. Those additional considerations or steps include:

  • Choosing a definition of net zero energy

  • Iterative modeling, design and costing of energy measures. This modeling should include both weighing the levelized costs between efficiency and renewables and an analysis of net metering, load leveling and matching generation.

  • Phasing installation and implementation

Net zero energy is considered the pinnacle of achievement in energy performance – a real challenge to the market - even some are now striving for “energy positive” buildings. Increasingly, the case for undertaking a net zero retrofit is compelling: leading occupants and tenants are starting to ask, designers are increasingly comfortable making net zero designs, and the net zero concept has been noticed among savvy building owners as a market differentiator.
What is needed now is support to scale up the process to move from the experiences of the few into a broader market expansion. With Rocky Mountain Institute, we explore the process of taking an existing building to net zero and share examples:

Reinventing Existing Buildings: Eight Steps To Net Zero Energy

Learn more, read the Issue Brief: Reinventing Existing Buildings: Eight Steps to Net Zero Energy and view the  Infographic: Roadmap to Net Zero in Existing Commercial Buildings.

May 2013

Related Articles:

Why Net Zero Energy? Lessons from Successful Projects >>
A Roadmap to Net Zero Energy Commercial Buildings >>


rightsizing HVAC - when I installed a split-system reverse-cycle inverter air-con at home, the installer recommended a 3HP system 'to be sure' - having done a lot of calculations about aspect, thermal mass, window size, etc. I chose 1.5HP - half the size he recommended - and ever since have had good heating and cooling that runs on the smell of an oily rag - when I compared my electricity bills before and after installation - there was no difference, i.e. net additional running cost zero - that's a difference right-sizing can make.
7/24/2013 5:44:07 AM
Lisa Zurn
Institute for Building Efficiency
To share the above Infographic here is the HTML code to copy and paste onto your blog or website.
<a href=""> <img src="" alt="Roadmap to Net Zero Energy in Existing Commercial Buildings-Infographic" title="Roadmap to Net Zero Energy in Existing Commercial Buildings-Infographic" /> </a> <br/> <a href="">The Institute for Building Efficiency</a>
7/23/2013 1:48:26 PM
Shanti Pless
We are now metering plug loads at the outlet level across 200 workstations, and it is great insight into office space plug load savings opportunities.
6/26/2013 10:07:40 PM
Wigner Rodriguez
CI Engineering Service
I like the process showed. Step 7 & 8 are very important and most of the project did not take them in consideration.
6/11/2013 11:33:15 AM
Hillary Price
Integral Group
Measuring actual plug load power consumption (as opposed to relying on nameplate power data), was a key factor in allowing us to appropriately downsize HVAC equipment and the PV system, thereby saving on capital costs. Equipment nameplate power data often overstates power draw. Right-sizing the HVAC equipment also allowed for more efficient operation, saving on electricity costs throughout the year.
6/10/2013 7:30:15 PM

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