July 21, 2016 - Calling all energy conscious commercial buildings! New Buildings Institute (NBI) is starting its annual review of advanced energy efficiency commercial projects including zero energy, emerging and ultra-low energy projects.
By Renée Francoeur
North American designers, engineers, architects, building owners and operators are invited to enter their work through NBI’s Building Registry. These buildings, once vetted, will be categorized and published in a list to be released at the Getting to Zero National Forum in October, where builders and designers will be awarded with honours.
In 2015, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre and the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS), both in Vancouver, made the list for Emerging Zero Energy Buildings as well as Montreal’s Abondance multi-family project and a few others from Canada.
“Across every region, ultra-efficient and zero energy buildings are increasingly in demand,” said NBI CEO Ralph DiNola. “Smart designers and developers understand the growing momentum reflected in the expanded number of buildings, which reflects a continued upward market trend.”
A zero energy (ZE) or Net Zero Energy (NZE) building produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year, NBI notes, achieved through a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The registry currently features more than 339 ZE and high-performance commercial buildings—46 of them verified ZE buildings—from all climate zones across the U.S. and Canada, including schools, offices, multifamily residential, nursing homes, wineries, courthouses and more. NBI wants that number to hit 400 before October.
Projects are classified by the three categories:
• Verified ZE buildings have metered data, which show net zero or positive energy generation over a given year.
• Emerging ZE buildings are those that have a publically stated goal of ZE but have not yet demonstrated achievement of these goals. These may be in the planning or design phase, under construction or have been in operation for less than a year. Others may have been operating for 12 months or longer, but their measured energy either has yet to achieve net zero or the measured data to document ZE verified status was not available.
• Ultra-low energy buildings are those with low annual energy usage (gross EUI). These buildings have demonstrated significant technical progress toward goals of building energy use reduction, even though they may not have continued on the ZE pathway by investing in on-site renewables.
If you know of a building that is right for NBI’s annual list, register it HERE.
Click HERE to see NBI’s 2015 Getting to Zero Buildings List or download it below.