Net Zero Buildings

UC Davis West Village Neighborhood

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UC Davis West Village, the nation’s largest planned zero net energy community, continues to work toward its goal of producing 100 percent of the energy it uses.A 2015 report released by UC Davis and the West Village Community Partnership LLC said the community is 82 percent of its way toward reaching zero net energy, or ZNE. The analysis covers the time period between September 2013 and August 2014. “The neighborhood is close to where we want it to be, but we still are not at the finish line,” said Sid England, assistant vice chancellor of the UC Davis Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. “I think we’re on track to get to 100 percent in t

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Tallest Passive House Building Features Unique Colored Facade

As the tallest passive house building in the world at 26 stories, The House at Cornell Tech, designed by Handel Architects, features an innovative system of prefabricated metal panels. Triple-pane windows, mineral wool insulation and air and vapor barriers were factory-sealed into large, single-story curtainwall assemblies and then hoisted on to the building as fully integrated units. The super-tight insulation, combined with highly efficient heating, cooling and fresh-air circulation systems, reduces energy consumption by 70%, as compared to conventional designs.To really make the design pop, Handel worked with PPG to custom color the façade with Duranar MXL coatings. “We were lo

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Green Gas

While gas stations aren’t typically the first thing to come to mind when someone says “green building,” a St. Louis area gas station challenges that perception. The ZOOM station’s unconventional-looking canopy over its gas pumps supports a two-way solar panel system capable of producing 109,000 kWh of electricity annually—enough to power most of the station and its convenience store and car wash. Manufactured by Prism Solar Technologies, the glass-on-glass solar panels can generate 35% more energy per watt than traditional modules via advanced bifacial N-type silicon cell technology that can generate electricity on both its front and back surfaces. The panels al

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Unisphere

United Therapeutics’ (Unither) Unisphere is the largest net zero commercial building in the U.S. A biotechnology company focused on the development of products to address the needs of patients with chronic and life-threatening conditions, Unither, in planning the 210,000-sq.-ft. addition to its six-building campus in Silver Spring, approached the project, in the same manner as the development of one of its products. They identified a primary objective: build a facility to keep up the design and development flow of the company’s new products; second, create a building that would exemplify a new environmental theory to the structures of this genre; and third, create a contempo

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Geothermal Contributes to Net-Zero Success

All builders in Whisper Valley are required to hook up to EcoSmart’s GeoGrid, a 5-mile loop of underground distribution piping that links each home to a geo-exchange network, engineered and manufactured by REHAU, a global provider of hydronic technologies and a strategic partner in the Whisper Valley project. “It took a bit of time to figure out who was doing what,” says Dennis Ciani, head of marketing for Pacesetter Homes, an Austin-area builder that constructs about 500 homes per year, including most of the new homes in Whisper Valley. “But the geothermal loop was already in the ground and all homeowners had to do was tie into it, which turned out to be fairly easy

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