Bosch, along with NASEO and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), hosted congressional staff for two briefings focused on Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings in the commercial, residential, and public sectors.
Participants in the events spanned both chambers and parties including many individuals from federal agencies.
Attendees were briefed on the benefits of ZNE buildings, the diminishing and achievable costs of constructing a ZNE-ready building, state actions in support of opening the market for ZNE buildings, and the federal leadership that is needed to bring ZNE to scale.
NASEO member and buildings committee co-chair, Greg Guess of the Kentucky energy office, spoke to congressional staff to provide a state perspective on ZNE, highlighting one of the best success stories in the country. As the Director of the Division of Efficiency and Conservation in the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence, Greg has instituted programs that promoted the development of two highly touted Zero Net Energy schools in the state. In fact, Kentucky was the first state in the nation to build a ZNE public school.
In the first year of operation Richardsville Elementary received a $37,000 check from the electric utility for energy sold back to the grid. From 2011-2012, the new Turkey Foot Middle School was able to decrease its annual energy costs from $94,954 to $38,558 – a decrease of 59 percent while doubling the square footage of the original building. All of this was achieved by constructing schools that cost the state no more to construct than traditional code-compliant buildings.
ACEEE’s Buildings Program Director, Jennifer Amann and Bosch’s Business Development Manager, Mark Stimson, both NASEO Affiliate members, offered insights on the role of energy-efficient design practices and technologies, such as geothermal heating and cooling in achieving ZNE and discussed supportive policies and programs to accelerate progress. NASEO provided an overview of the State Energy Offices activities in support of ZNE buildings and examples from across the nation.
The attendees were left with a simple, clear, takeaway : direct the U.S. Department of Energy to provide greater leadership on the increasingly successful Zero Net Energy space. In order to bring ZNE to scale, voluntary, national standards for design and construction are needed to aid the building industry and the states in advancing an accepted set of market definitions, metrics, and guidelines.
For more information, please see the briefing presentation, fact sheets on the Kentucky schools, the ZNE White Paper, or by visiting us at NASEO.org.