Mandate says new state agency buildings must pursue ZNE now

California Department of General Services (DGS) Director Dan Kim issued a mandate (Management Memo 17-04) in October expediting the Governor’s Executive Order B-18-12 and requiring zero net energy (ZNE) for new construction projects starting October 23, 2017. ZNE performance is now required for all new state building design and construction, and build-to-suit leases beginning design. The management memo does not further expedite state agencies’ target to achieve ZNE on existing buildings beyond the executive order, which requires ZNE for 50% of the square footage of existing state-owned building area by 2025. Speaking to a group of DGS and state agency professionals Kim stated, “Why wait? We can make this happen now.”

California Lottery Office | Santa Fe Springs, CA Credit: LPAS Architecture + Design

According to the memo:

  • All new state buildings, major renovations, and build-to-suit leases beginning design after October 23, 2017, and as many as possible already begun, shall be designed and built following cost-effective energy efficiency strategies for achieving ZNE identified below.
  • Departments shall work to improve energy efficiency in existing buildings in the most cost-effective manner to meet or exceed energy efficiency targets established in energy efficiency strategies for achieving ZNE identified below.
  • Renewable energy generation shall be added to state facilities either onsite, and/or offsite to achieve EO B-18-12 targets by following renewable energy generation prioritization and strategies identified below.

The memo provides direction, strategies, and procedures that will help state agencies achieve ZNE and emphasizes that design teams initial focus should be on energy conservation, passive systems, and whole-building integrated energy efficiency measures. A ZNE building is defined by source energy use intensity (EUI). Offsite renewable energy is allowed as long as all feasible onsite sources have been exhausted and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are retained and not sold to other customers. The State Administrative Manual (SAM) Section 1815.31 encourages any excess energy production be used onsite or within campuses through energy storage and to charge electric vehicles.

DGS has published the DGS ZNE Program website that includes the documents mentioned above along with energy efficiency targets for new and existing state buildings, and other resources to support state agencies in achieving the ZNE goal.