Paving the way for other retrofit projects to do the same, the Net Zero Plus Electric Training Institute (NZP-ETI) in Los Angeles has recently announced that it has developed the nation’s largest net zero plus commercial building retrofit.

The NZP-ETI surpasses the net zero energy qualification by generating more energy on site than it will consume.

“Excess energy generated by an onsite photovoltaic solar array can be stored in the center’s battery storage system or be discharged back into the electric grid system,” explains the NZP-ETI. The institute covers 144,000 square feet with a demonstration center and laboratory designed to develop clean energy technologies and train those entering the electrical industry.

So how can you make improvements to your building to get closer to becoming a net zero energy site? On-site improvements that take advantage of natural resources could be the answer.

The solar array the NZP-ETI installed provides the ability to generate electricity directly into the building or to be stored for future use. The versatility of their array provides surplus energy, which compensates for times when more energy is needed. Typically, the production of solar energy is at its highest during the peak operational hours of a building.

Other options include solar water heating systems and wind turbines. Solar water heating systems often require a backup water heater when it is particularly cloudy, but it will save on electricity usage. Wind turbines necessitate an open area with high wind speeds, but they can efficiently supplement existing energy systems.

The energy and environmental benefits of the NZP-ETI include reducing total energy consumption 51%, producing 185,000 kWh per year more than it consumes and shrinking carbon dioxide emissions by 502 metric tons per year. 

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