The International Living Future Institute Certifies Two Net-Zero Energy Buildings

The International Living Future Institute is pleased to announce that zHome in Washington and DPR Construction Headquarters in Arizona have both earned its Net Zero Energy Building Certification.

Designed by David Vandervort Architects, zHome is a 10-unit town house situated in part of Issaquah Highlands, an urban village developed as an expansion to the City of Issaquah. zHome integrates smart design and leading technologies to radically reduce its effects on the environment. The project also achieved Petal Certification under the Living Building Challenge ™ in the areas of Energy, Equity and Beauty Petals.

“This project has had an incredible impact on our community,” says Amanda Sturgeon, Vice President of the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most rigorous green building standard. “It has demonstrated that in fact, there is a market for net-zero energy homes and that homebuyers are willing to pay more up front knowing that they will have no energy bills in the long-term.”

[contextly_sidebar id=”3217487bfaec138412638a440792e618″]To achieve net-zero energy, zHome began with conservation, using a number of advanced energy-efficient construction techniques to reduce home energy use by two thirds of a typical home. zHome units then use solar panels to generate and offset the remaining one-third to achieve net zero energy use and net zero CO2 emissions over the course of a year.

“zHome’s story is pretty incredible – surviving the financial downturn and transitions between three builders,” says Brad Liljequist, the project leader from the City of Issaquah.  “Things have only gotten easier in building zero net energy homes – prices on solar have come down and new, inexpensive heat pump technologies are becoming widespread.  This will only make zero energy homes more and more feasible.”

A living laboratory for the community, DPR’s new office in Phoenix is a unique example of urban revitalization and sustainability. Conceptualized as a “net-zero energy workplace of the future,” DPR created an open-office environment housing 58 workstations and floater spaces, meeting rooms, support spaces,  and a fully-equipped gym/locker facility.

DPR incorporated passive and active cooling solutions including operable windows, four shower towers, and a solar chimney, The 79 kW  photovoltaic  panels cover the parking lot to produce energy onsite. DPR monitor and share their energy use through an on-line metering system available on their website.

“Net zero is possible, even in one of the most extreme climates in the country,” says Dave Elrod, LEED AP Regional Manager, DPR Construction. “We purposely chose a building that was nearing the end of its intended lifecycle in a redeveloping area to show our commitment to Phoenix and to demonstrate the impact revitalization can have on an urban environment. This building is another proof point of our ability to walk the walk of sustainability.”

The Institute’s Net Zero Energy Building Certification program was first announced at the annual GreenBuild conference held two years ago in Toronto.

Net Zero Energy —a building that generates all the energy it needs through on-site renewables— has been an ideal in the green building industry for some time.  But until the Institute launched the NZEB program in 2011, no formal certification program existed for net-zero energy buildings.

DPR and zHome bring the total number of Net Zero Energy Building certifications to date to four. Painters Hall, a community center in Salem’s Pringle Creek neighborhood, has earned certification as a net zero building, along with IDeAs Z2 Design Facility in San Jose, Calif. Both buildings were existing building retrofit projects. You can view all of the Institute’s Net Zero case studies here.

About The International Living Future Institute
International Living Future Institute is an environmental NGO committed to catalyzing the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. Comprised of leading green building experts and thought-leaders, the Institute is premised on the belief that providing a compelling vision for the future is a fundamental requirement for reconciling humanity’s relationship with the natural world. It operates the Living Building Challenge and other critical leading-edge programs. The Living Building Challenge is the 2012 winner of the Buckminster Fuller Prize.

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