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California Rolls Out Zero Net Energy Plan for Buildings

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), along with stakeholders, has released the state’s Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Action Plan for Buildings. The roadmap provides an action plan to shift the state’s 5 billion square feet of commercial property space from the biggest energy consumers in the state to “net zero” energy users, through greater energy efficiency and on-site clean energy generation by 2030.

California’s commercial property space consumes 38 percent of the state’s total power supply, which make this sector the biggest energy users in the state, according to CPUC.

But buildings could be constructed to use 43 percent less energy through currently available energy-saving building design, practices and technologies, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The action plan covers four specific goals, known as the Big Bold Energy Efficiency Strategies (BBEES), which identifies near-term, mid-term and long-term milestones to meet these goals.

The four BBEES are:

–All new residential construction in California will be zero net energy by 2020

–All new commercial construction in California will be zero net energy by 2030

–Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) will be upgraded to ensure that its energy performance is optimal for California’s climate

— All eligible low-income customers will be given the opportunity to participate in the low income energy efficiency program by 2020.

ZNE buildings have net energy consumption of zero over a typical year, says CPUC. These buildings are constructed to the highest level of energy efficiency possible, and use on-site renewable energy sources.

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