When constructing your commercial development project, do you consider the amount of energy it will consume?
On average, commercial development centers consume 20 percent of the United States power supply. Consumption of non-reusable sources such as fossil fuels and coal produce the majority this power.
As the economy recovers from the recession and the demand for commerce increases, we need to ask ourselves as designers before constructing more commercial development architecture projects. Is this statistic acceptable? With the advances in renewable energy and conservation, such as solar energy, what can we do as commercial architects to avoid another energy crisis experienced in the last decade?
There is a movement challenging the past issues of commercial infrastructure and is a possible solution to the energy consumption of commercial buildings. Consider the Zero Net Energy movement.
Zero Net Energy in Relation to Commercial Architecture?
Zero Net Energy (ZNE): the amount of energy consumed on the commercial development \ center equates to the amount of energy produced by the center.
The Zero Net Energy movement grew after the cataclysm of the Great Recession and found a successful niche among federal buildings of the United States. As evidence, President Obama signed an executive order mandating all new residential facilities and federal buildings conform to ZNE standards by 2020 and 2030, respectively.
Another caveat of this order is the creation of the Building Technologies Office, a government program targeting the energy consumption of commercial centers.
Not only will the ZNE movement hasten the independence from fossil fuels and coal, but it will also save the commercial facility money in terms of reduced energy consumption and be unaffected when energy shortage issues arise.
Zero Net Energy in Action
Our Desert National Wildlife Refuge project is an excellent example of implementing the ZNE movement. The center in Spring Mountains foothills is a LEED Platinum-rated facility that surpassed the necessary requirements. The key sustainable features we included are its water efficient fixtures, high-performance glazing, and HVAC systems that reduce energy costs, extensive daylighting and low VOC materials.
What’s next for the ZNE movement?
“All new buildings, developments and major renovations shall be carbon-neutral by 2030,” reports Architecture2030.org. The challenge is primarily composed of targeted objectives for architecture and building communities worldwide. One of those objectives asks that all new buildings and major renovations reduce their fossil fuel standard and become carbon neutral by 2030.
Through these adopted, universal goals, we can achieve worldwide energy efficiency in commercial architecture and beyond.
Need more information on the Zero Net Energy?
At SH Architecture, we want to be a part of the community, leading the way in creating examples of sustainable commercial architecture. At the same time, we want to be a resource in which furthers the movement in making sustainable practices available to everyone.
Contact us today, and we’ll help you create a community built to last.