In the wake of global warming, climate change, and similar problems, technological innovation seems like the only sustainable solution. So, it did not come as a surprise when the designers in the commercial and residential sectors turned toward net zero buildings – a true marvel of technological advancement.
Net zero buildings are those buildings that can produce as much energy from their onsite renewable sources as they consume. They are considered one of the most sustainable industry solutions as they do not depend on any exterior resources for their daily running.
Popular Examples of Net Zero Buildings
Thanks to the astronomical innovation in construction techniques and design, there are many net zero energy (NZE) verified buildings built around the world.
Down below is a list of 4 net zero buildings that have shown promising results and are considered models for future net zero building designs:
- The Bullitt Center
Rated as one of the greenest commercial buildings around the world, the Bullitt Center was opened on Earth Day in 2013. The six-story building covers a total area of 52,000 ft2 and is located in Seattle, a seaport city on the West Coast of the US.
Today, the Bullitt Center yields about $355 per 0.09 m2 (per square foot). The energy efficiency of this building is about 83 percent more than an average commercial building in Seattle. In terms of water usage, the building’s efficiency is 80 percent better than an average office in Seattle.
The sustainable energy sources of the Bullitt Center include radiant floor heating and cooling, a huge photovoltaic array, a geothermal heat exchange system, and retractable external blinds. Such yield and energy efficiency make the Bullitt Center 100 percent energy and carbon neutral.
- La Jolla Commons II
One of the biggest net zero buildings in the world, La Jolla Commons II covers a total area of 38,555 m2 and is located at the University Town Center. This 13-storey is built by the famous real estate firm Hines.
La Jolla Commons II was opened in April 2014. Since the opening of the building, it has been tested and rated as pre-certified silver by the US Green Building Council. Its long list of sustainability features includes slab-on-grade foundation, low-emissive coatings to bounce off long-wave infrared (IR) heat, and better light transmissions.
- Aldo Leopold Legacy Center
Another famous name in our list of net zero buildings is Aldo Leopold Legacy Center. Counted as one of the most environment-friendly buildings on our planet, the center includes three one-storey buildings.
Aldo Leopold Legacy Center uses about 70 percent lesser energy than other buildings in its vicinity. It produces onsite energy by using rooftop photovoltaic arrays. Since the arrays can produce as much as 39.6 kW, the building can actually produce more than 110 percent of electrical energy than what it uses.
As compared to some other buildings in the list, Aldo Leopold Legacy Center is relatively smaller. It covers about 1105 m2 or 11,900 ft2 area. Apart from energy and carbon neutrality, the building also focuses on reducing water consumption. By using efficient faucets, dual-flush toilets, and waterless urinals, the building has managed to reduce its water consumption by 35 percent.
- Hawaii Gateway Energy Center
As its name reveals, the Hawaii Gateway Energy Center is located on the island of Hawaii. The building is used by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii for research and development (R&D) purposes.
The orientation of the building helps in lighting its interior. Hence, the offices in the building use less energy than an average office on the island of Hawaii. Since solar energy can also create negative effects in the form of solar heat gain, shades are used on the windows of the building. Hawaii Gateway Energy Center uses a 20-kW photovoltaic array to produce the energy it uses.
With businesses getting easy access to sustainable technology, we might soon see a steep rise in the number of net zero energy buildings around the world.