California leading by example

More than 80 public building representatives met in Sacramento earlier this month to kick off California’s ZNE Early Adopters Network. The meeting was the first of three planned sessions to support public sector leadership in zero-net energy (ZNE) in order to meet California’s Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan Big Bold goals for ZNE in new residential and commercial construction by 2020 and 2030, respectively.

Representatives from the Governor’s office, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), New Buildings Institute (NBI), and the Department of General Services (DGS) joined participants to facilitate knowledge-sharing, examine ZNE project examples, review new communications resources and plan the steps they will take to reach their policy and building portfolio objectives for ZNE. Participants came from local governments, state agencies, k-12 schools and higher education sectors.

At the meeting, DGS officials described 14 state building pilot projects aiming for zero net energy performance as part of efforts to implement a Governor’s 2012 Executive Order to make all new state buildings beginning design after 2025 to be ZNE. The following day, DGS gathered key state agency building and energy professionals together with utility staff and experienced ZNE design professionals to discuss critical building and process issues for these new and retrofit pilot projects.

“I believe that in a few years, we will look back on these workshops as a transformational moment in the design of government buildings.” said Tom Piette, DGS Supervising Architect for Energy and Sustainability Programs.

Two additional meetings are planned later this year to provide ongoing assistance as public sector representatives plan for project financing, design and stakeholder engagement. For more information about the event, contact Heather Flint Chatto at NBI.