[SEMINAR] Creating ZeroNetEnergy Buildings with Off-the-Shelf Technologies

April 20, 2015 9:01 AM | Anonymous

Creating ZeroNetEnergy Buildings with Off-the-Shelf Technologies

APRIL 23, 2015


8:15 -to- 5pm


Admission price for attending in person varies whether or not you want CEUs from the American Institute of Architects.  CaliforniaGeo a registered educational provider for AIA, and seven Learning Units are available for in-person or webinar attendees.  California will demand that new housing achieves ZNE by 2020, with new commercial buildings by 2030.  Will you be ready?

Full details on pricing and purchase are waiting at EventBritewhere credit card payment is accepted.  20 seats are available for in-person participants from non-profits, academic institutions, utilities, and CA state agencies for $35 (including lunch).  The remaining 60 seats are priced at $150 (also w/lunch).  CEU credits are extra.



Getting started with implementation of efficiency and greenhouse gas goals

Mark Z. JacobsonProfessor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Director, Atmosphere Energy Program, Stanford University

Dr. Jacobson will share the results of his team’s research to effect California’s transition to a carbonless, energy economy by 2050 with generation by wind, water, and solar renewables.  The capital costs would be offset by increasingly affordable renewable electricity against the fossil fuels paradigm, and the remarkable boost by a reduction in the social costs of atmospheric pollution and pre-mature mortality.

Three of the most significant problems facing California and the world, today

  • Global Warming
  • Air Pollution
  • Energy Insecurity

Technical and economic plans for a California conversion to a renewable electric economy

  • 100% renewably powered
  • Exclusively by wind, water, and sunlight
  • For all purposes—electricity, transportation, industry and HVAC
  • Energy efficiency measures a first priority

The schedule for achieving this

  • All new energy to be WWS by 2020
  • Approximately 80-85% conversion of existing energy by 2030
  • 100% renewable WWS by 2050 brings many benefits
  • Grid stability can be achieved and maintained along this path


Energy Efficiency 2.0: A Prerequisite for Achieving our ZNE and GHG Goals

Dian GrueneichSenior Research Scholar, Stanford University, CPUC Commissioner Emeritus 

California’s regulation and policy menu has evolved well beyond the original Title-24 that established an energy use budget per square foot.  The metrics for true efficiency have now incorporated advanced lighting, timing of electricity use, reductions in greenhouse gas production, and the reach for Zero Net Energy in all building types.  This regulatory/policy veteran will share the why and how of that path ahead.

Getting to ZNE, California’s ZNE vision and goals

  • Why are we doing this?
  • State’s goals
  • 2008 EE Strategic Plan

Regulatory and Program Barriers

  • What has the first generation of EE accomplished?
  • California’s policy and regulatory framework for delivering EE
  • Challenges to achieving ZNE in California's buildings

EE 2.0: The Next Generation of Energy Efficiency

  • EE’s changing role and value
  • Major opportunities for savings
  • The need to update policies and governance


Can Natural Gas contribute to Getting to ZNE? A bridge to nowhere: 

methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas

Robert W. Howarth  Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University (Via live video feed)

This research veteran will share his conclusion that increased building thermal efficiency that still relies on natural gas is a false hope.  The shift from coal to gas has been over-sold as an energy panacea for the nation’s climate, pollution, and health problems.  Only the shift to renewables can get us the efficiencies we need, without the toxic side-effects of a lingering fossil economy.

Where does the idea of natural gas as a bridge fuel come from?

  • Carbon dioxide emissions from using natural gas are less than from coal and oil
  • The two faces of carbon: emissions of both carbon dioxide and methane are critical to global warming
  • Methane and carbon dioxide operate in fundamentally different ways in warming the planet, and at different time scales

Methane emissions from natural gas

  • Data for natural gas systems were extremely limited before 2011
  • Emissions from coal and oil are relatively low, normalized to energy value
  • Many new studies over past 3 years indicate very high emissions from natural gas systems, both at well sites and from storage and distribution systems
  • Methane emissions from shale gas are even larger than from conventional natural gas, and shale gas is an increasingly large percentage of total natural gas 

Assessing the full greenhouse gas footprint

  • Comparison of carbon dioxide and methane requires an explicit choice of time frame
  • A decadal time frame is important, because of greatly increasing risk of irreversible climate change as tipping points hit in next 15 to 35 years
  • Using best estimate of methane emissions and 20-year time frame, conventional natural gas has large global warming impact than coal or oil
  • Greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas is the largest by far for any fossil fuel   -- natural gas is no bridge fuel.



Cradle to Cradle®

  Design for Energy Positive Places: Nike, NASA, and More

David M. JohnsonAIA, Partner | Managing Director, William McDonough + Partners

California’s current goals for sustainability are increasingly aggressive.  Applying the Cradle to Cradle® framework for design has never been as appropriate as it is today.  Planning ahead with an eye toward recyclable and reusable building materials can carry a building’s efficiencies well beyond the energy and raw materials it will consume throughout it’s life cycle.

The Cradle to Cradle® framework as design philosophy

  • Beyond energy efficiency, beyond zero energy: getting to positive
  • Net Energy Positive @ NASA Sustainability Base
  • Net Energy Positive @ Nike EU Headquarters
  • Design for continuous improvement
  • The role of geothermal solutions


Achieving ZNE+W Design at the Building and District scale with Geothermal System

Marco Alves, P.E., PAE Engineers

Sustainability is the opportunity for people occupying working or living space to maximize working/living efficiency with maximum comfort and minimal environmental impact to all the earth’s resources. PAE continues its award-winning efforts to advance this cause in a wider variety of building types and site locations.  This segment features how they approach that task, how they’ve achieved it, and the role of geothermal heat pumps in their efforts to increase the number and notoriety of the world’s best-performing buildings.

Holistic approach to ZNE+W design

  • Know your site resources (climate and other site resources analysis)
  • Envelope design for ZNE+W design
  • Internal loads (site energy and water use)
  • Geo-Exchange and system selection for ZNE+W design
  • Integrated design of systems
  • Renewable energy generation
  • Water capture and re-use


The Energy (EUI), Water (WUI), and Geo-Exchange nexus

  • CA ZNE plan
  • Energy and water use in CA
  • Saving energy, saves water, saves energy
  • System selection options
  • Geo-Exchange = Energy & Water savings

Bullitt: ZNE+W design at the building scale

RMI: ZNE Positive design at the building scale

Whitestripes: ZNE+W design at the district scale


Honda Smart Home, Designing a Vision for Zero Carbon Living and Personal Mobility 

Michael KoenigProject Leader, Honda Smart Home, American Honda Motor Co, Inc.

Environmental Business Development Office  Honda Smart Home US

Honda has always strived for the highest mileage in every vehicle class they produce.  Now, they have taken that principle to the highest possible level, marrying the electric car (80% net efficiency) to the Smart Home concept to produce carbon-free ZNE living.  See how the Honda Smart Home powers both itself AND your transportation!


Residential ZNE Case Study - Overview of the project 

  • Technical concerns with ZNE 
  • HEMS system 
  • GHP system to lower house loads 
  • Passive design for total system efficiency 
  • Efficiency and quality of life through lighting 
  • Sustainability is more than just ZNE 
  • How to move the needle to help make this future a reality


Passive and Active Design Steps as Key Tools for Getting to ZNE

Bruce Baccei, Emerging Technologies Project Manager, Energy R&D, Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Every new building has the opportunity at it’s design stage to minimize energy consumption by using passive features to make it a solar collector, and a daylighting collector to minimize interior loads.  Other active choices in materials and thermal distribution can cut building demand and please anyone’s electric utility.  These steps were incorporated in SMUD’s new service center, along with use of underground thermal resources.  This utility sees the potential of geothermal heat pump technology to improve its load factor while reducing grid demand.

Energy Efficiency + Passive & Active Solar Thermal, Geothermal + PV/Wind = Net Zero

Energy Efficiency 

Passive Solar (Summer Night Cooling & Winter Heating) 

  • Orientation
  • South facing glass
  • Thermal Mass

Solar Thermal

Solar Hot Water

Space Heating

Geothermal – ground loop or swimming pool

  • Sacramento Municipal Utility District case studies
  • Trumbly Diagonal horizontal-bore retrofit geothermal project
  • SMUD’s East Campus Geo with Radiant Ceiling Delivery Heating & Cooling


Optimizing Solar Photovoltaics with Geothermal Heat Pumps

Paul BonyDirector of Residential Market Development & Western Regional Sales, ClimateMaster, and CaliforniaGeo Board Member

Your current (or next) building can benefit from what’s become a near-perfect partnership of renewable energy by solar and underground resources as you head for serious energy reductions or all the way to True ZNE.  Learn how the sky and the earth can provide the solution both you and your grid utility will love.  Carbonless buildings are the future, and these mature technologies are here today (solar PV, solar thermal, and geothermal heat pumps).  They work well in every U.S. climate, so what are YOU waiting for?


Efficient construction, GHPs and solar technologies can provide all the annual energy needed for a building today with net metering.

  • GHPs optimize carbon free electrical use while eliminating fossil fuel thermal loads
  • GHPs minimizing the investment needed in solar capacity to make 100% of the needed carbonless energy on-site so Geothermal heat pumps powered by on-site solar PV can get you to carbonless ZNE for the lowest lifecycle cost
  • GHPs shave peaks late in the day when solar comes off line, optimizing the societal value of the system

With thermal storage, GHPs can become the lowest cost  solution to the “Duck Curve” challenge 

Utilities can make the investment needed to power the GHP solution and make a solid rate of return, dodging the death spiral

  • GHPs are cost effective, especially with new loop/heat transfer technologies, economies of scale  and long term institutional financing
  • GHPs save water vs. direct and indirect cooling





Zero Net Energy Multi-Family Case Study with Geothermal Heat Pumps at Parkview Place, Davis, CA

Dick BourneVice President, Integrated Comfort, Inc.

This five-unit, senior living ZNE project was completed in late 2013 for less than $180 per square foot.  It uses a single ground loop with a single heat pump that provides heating and cooling through individually-plumbed, radiant floors.  Hot water pre-heat is handled both by the GHPs and solar thermal collection.  There is no natural gas onsite, and shallow helical coils for the ground loop represent a highly affordable, evolutionary technology.  All electrical needs came from the solar PV system, and the project generated surplus Kilowatt-hours to the utility in its first operating year.


Multifamily project in Davis California, completed in late 2013 

  • Developed by four senior couples- a social experiment!
  • Has achieved cost-effective true zero net energy (ZNE) 
  • Construction cost was less than $180/sq. ft. 
  • No natural gas onsite; GHP system using shallow helical coils and radiant floors
  • GHP system also provides auxiliary water heating, supplements solar thermal


Geo Helix Loop— Expanding the Market for True ZNE

  • The Geo Helix concept and application range
  • Pros: Lower cost, less thermal “interference”, reduced site impact
  • Cons: Missing deep earth, water table; soil & density constraints; less proven
  • Equipment and installation options
  • Rules of Thumb: coils per ton, coil & borehole spacing 



Geothermal Heat Pumps:  A Pathway to ZNE for Schools, Homes and Businesses

Lisa Meline, P.E. Meline Engineering, Co-Chair, IGSHPA Industry Standards Committee, former Chair, CaliforniaGeo

From the federal government to our local schools, ZeroNetEnergy is no longer a ‘nice to have’ for facilities and maintenance personnel, it’s becoming a requirement.  From the Santa Monica Mountains (National Park Service housing) to the East Bay’s Ohlone College, public building projects are being developed to meet lowest life cycle costs through ZNE.  Prop 39 is one of the funding sources being used to help schools, specifically.  Both projects represent these early adopters’ use of geothermal heat pumps.

  • Definition of ZNE for National Park Service Project
  • Transition with a discussion of homes
  • RPS goals and how applying the renewable technologies to achieve ZNE also help us  achieve the state’s energy production targets
  • Discuss Ohlone Community College geothermal heat pump project
  • What makes a competent design team?
  • How should financial (and on-going maintenance requirements!) metrics be obtained within feasibility studies?



How close are California’s actions for Zero Net Energy to its policies?

What technologies get us to a TRUE ZNE future without carbon?

Bill Martin, Principal, Martin Energetics, CaliforniaGeo Board Chair Instructor, Feather River College (retired)


Who are we kidding when we accept California’s Zero Net Energy and AB 32 compliance as zero net (electricity only)?  The statutes and regulations are clear about (carbonless) ZNE in new buildings in less than five years.  Why aren’t we?  Despite Title-24’s proposed 2016 regulations to require natural gas use where it is available, Bill reaches for True ZNE in his conventional home within California’s Climate Zone 16.  No wood, oil, or bottled gas is consumed in this geothermal heat pump-equipped, solar PV home, using energy only from the sky and the earth.


CaliforniaGeo’s definition of TRUE ZNE

  • There are serious goals for 2020, 2030, and 2050, and WE should be equally serious
  • We promote the acceleration of carbonless technology
  • Codes & standards based on a sloppy ZNE definition wastes our opportunities
  • Zero net electricity (only) is not progress and only winks at AB 32’s goals
  • Carbonless use of earth and sky for on-site thermal & electric loads is the right path


Where do Predicted Extensions of Title-24 in 2016 take us?

  • A prescriptive requirement for use of gas takes us away from True ZNE
  • Bias for gas unless you prove you have a better compliance idea
  • There is no compliance pathway for geothermal heat pumps
  • If equipment is the most efficient, why not accept nameplate performance?


What I chose to do on my own: I chose to reach for carbonless ZNE in my new home

  • Conventional construction w/enhanced envelope and efficient lighting
  • Geothermal heat pump (3-ton) paired with 7.4 net KW solar PV for 3,265 sf
  • Four horizontal Slinky® ground loops @7-foot depth
  • All electric, PG&E E-6 TOU rate
  • No oil, gas, wood, or combustion on-site


Getting to Zero Net Energy Through Market Transformation from a Utility Perspective

Peter TurnbullPrincipal ZNE Program Manager, PG&E, Co-Chair, 2015 Getting to Zero National Forum

Pacific Gas & Electric has been leading the nation’s electric utilities in the deployment of renewable electricity generation.  That achievement (which conforms with California’s RPS goals) was earned not just by saying “yes,” ideologically.  The residential NEM (Net Energy Metering) Program that residential customers have come to love produces real challenges during parts of the day and parts of the year.  The grid we are all using more as a battery must be maintained and made more flexible to accept all we want to pour into it.  Peter’s presentation will celebrate the drive toward carbonless ZNE while showing us the challenges faced by utilities as we all work to keep the grid humming with less carbon.  Of course geothermal heat pumps will play an increasing role!


There are three important cost considerations for ZNE “at scale”

  • Least cost, efficient building design
  • The cost/configuration of renewables matters
  • The cost of grid integration matters, too


Example of Community Scale— UC Davis West Village

  • Progress toward CPUC goals for res and commercial const by 2020-30
  • West Village got energy efficiency and solar incentives from PG&E
  • Current performance is 85% of ZNE


PG&E metrics on renewable electricity incorporation to the grid

  • Currently 150,000 distributed generation customers w/renewables
  • Forecast fourfold increase in 10 years to 6,300 MW
  • Currently 4,000 new solar PV customers per month
  • New EV (electric vehicle) registrations in service area 4,800 per month


Challenges to a flexible, healthy and efficient grid from utility point of view

  • Commercial blogs w/solar only vs those with EE, DR, plus solar
  • The role of line sensors in grid health monitoring
  • Guiding principles for renewable power to the grid:


Utility Interests

  • Reliable, safe grid management. w/ high customer satisfaction
  • Seek lowest cost solutions to keep rates down
  • Collect revenues (in a de-coupled environment) adequate to cover costs
  • Support and implement regulatory policy
  • Since the 1970s, energy efficiency has avoided 30 new CA power plants


Details of the Duck Curve (A CA Independent Operator Projection)

  • The more renewable electricity to the grid the steeper the ramp peak
  • The deeper the duck’s belly, the steeper the post-solar ramp up
  • Conventional power plants must be less flexible “spinning reserve”
  • Inability to smooth the duck means curtailment of renewable generation


Public Policy Challenges to Using Geothermal Heat Pumps as a ZNE Tool

 Doug Dougherty, President & CEO, GEO: The Geothermal Exchange Organization

As superior as geothermal heat pump technology has been proven to be, far too many barriers to its utilization still exist.  If we want significant progress in California (or anywhere) toward maximum energy efficiency or reduced greenhouse gases, it’s time for this rogue’s gallery of obstructions to be cleared.  See how California stacks up against the public energy policy leadership of Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Illinois.  California was once the national energy policy leader.  What happened?

  • Failure of the federal government to recognize GHPs as a source of clean energy, i.e., thermal energy
  • Roadblocks to ZNE created by Stale laws PUC
  • Misapplication of arcane fuel switching prohibitions
  • Omissions from investor owned electric utilities renewable energy portfolios by failing to embrace thermal energy as renewable
  • Lack of GHP technology knowledge by third party administrators of state EE and RE programs
  • Defining a closed loop ground heat exchanger as a well is statutes, codes and standards
  • Flawed applications of efficiency ratings
  • Failure to follow California's leadership by adopting climate zone data at the state level
  • U.S. Market Analysis and Trends
  • Examples of Public Policy Leadership: Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Illinois

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