An Office Building Achieves Net-Zero Energy with Energy Efficiency and Solar Power

Case Study, Computer power management, Demand-controlled ventilation (DCV), HVAC distribution systems, Large offices, Plug loads, Solar technology

A regional government office building in Portland, Oregon, implemented energy-efficiency strategies to reduce the building’s energy consumption by 60%. It installed solar panels to then achieve net-zero energy consumption throughout the year. The seven-story building has about 94,000 square feet of occupied space. Project planners used a building model to map the building’s energy consumption and calculate the impact of energy-efficiency strategies. The office reduced plug loads by replacing employee computers and monitors with more-efficient equipment, saving an estimated 16.4% of energy use. A demand-controlled ventilation system and window and door sealing reduced energy consumption by another 13%. The office replaced fluorescent lamps with LEDs to save 12% of energy consumption. And HVAC replacements reduced energy consumption by another 10%. These energy-efficiency strategies will save 872.7 megawatt-hours and prevent 106 tons of emitted CO2 annually. Solar panels installed on the parking structure covered the remaining energy consumption of the building and achieved net-zero energy. This project shows that it’s possible to retrofit an existing, large office building with energy-efficiency strategies and solar panels to achieve net-zero energy.

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