Achieving a Real Net Zero Energy Building


GLOBE-Net, October 25, 2013 – It has long been a goal of energy experts, a building that generates more energy than it consumes. Despite many attempts worldwide, the goal has been elusive.

But the new Los Altos, CA headquarters building of the Packard Foundation has already generated enough electricity to meet its operational demands during the first full year of occupancy.

The building is the largest to date at 49,000 square feet to receive Net Zero Energy Building Certification™ through the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

The building is also designated LEED® Platinum (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and is one of a few buildings in the world to have achieved both designations.

The numbers tell the story of Net Zero Energy for the Packard Building. It was predicted that the building would consume 247MWh/yr. With the addition of a safety factor the system was designed to supply 277MWh/yr.

The proof that it was truly Net-Zero was that while they used more to operate the building at 351 MWh,  they generated more at 418 MWh returning 66.73 MWh back to the grid.

How did they do it? By reducing the demand side with great green design elements and technologies.

For example, during warm weather, water is cooled at night by a compressor-free cooling tower and stored in two 25,000-gallon underground tanks. During the day, the cooled water is pumped into the pipes that run through the chilled beams. Three major air handling units pull in 100% outside air, then filter and dehumidify it. Air flowing across the beam is sufficient to cool the interior spaces.

The building was designed by EHDD Architecture, a firm based in San Francisco, California and built by DPR Construction, with overall project and budget management provided by RhodesDahl LLC. Building construction costs were $37.2 million.


Learn more:  about the Green Headquarters of the Packard Foundation here

The Executive Summary of Sustainability in Practice (of the Packard Foundation building) here and the long version of the case study here   



 Green Building and Energy Efficiency will be major issues discussed at GLOBE 2014, the next in the celebrated GLOBE Series of Conferences and Trade Fairs on the business of the environment taking place in Vancouver Canada, March 26-28, 2014 Check here for more details.


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