GSA task force plans for future net-zero energy buildings

Thursday - 7/10/2014, 3:50pm EDT

By Stephanie Wasko
Special to Federal News Radio

The General Services Administration's Net-Zero Energy Task Group is planning to produce a draft letter with clear goals and guidance for net-zero energy buildings by this September.

On Tuesday, the committee decided on a provisional definition of net-zero energy buildings (NZEBs) to push them toward creating clear goals and guidance to agencies. The draft definition distinguishes between two different types of net- zero energy buildings:

  • "NZEB: an energy-efficient building where the actual annual source energy consumption measured at the site boundary is balanced by on-site renewable energy.
  • REC-NZEB: an energy-efficient building where the actual annual source energy consumption measured at the site boundary is balanced by on-site renewable energy to the maximum extent possible and then utilizes off-site renewable energy and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from certified sources."

Kent Peterson, vice president and chief engineer at P2S and member of the Federal Green Building Advisory Committee, said during the meeting that the Energy Department has funded research, interviews and workshops with industry about NZEBs to help them better understand the energy-saving architecture and form a working definition. He also said that the provisional definition the group decided on follows DoE's current thinking.

Last May, GSA established the Net-Zero Energy Task Group as part of the Green Building Advisory Committee, which advises and helps agencies build more eco- friendly architecture. The committee looks to follow the executive order issued in 2007 pushing federal agencies to "improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions." Both federal and non-federal workers participate together in the NZE Task Group to reach their green energy goals.

According to the committee's draft findings and recommendations, "It has been recommended that NZE buildings should reduce energy use at buildings to levels 50 percent or more than typical buildings of similar types."

The NZE Task Group has plans to meet over the next two months and present its final draft letter to GSA by the end of September.

Stephanie Wasko is an intern with Federal News Radio.

RELATED STORIES:

Army unveils massive solar-powered energy system

EPA, GSA want help in applying commercial standards to green purchasing

GSA's green energy testing benefits federal buildings, commercial manufacturers