Sustainable Design for the 21st Century

Net-Zero Energy Buildings Double, Going Mainstream

by Sustainable


     The Forest Service’s first net-zero energy building has  received the 2013 GreenGov Presidential Award and the US Department of Energy 2013 Federal Energy and Water Management Award. 

San Dimas 01

     The award is for the renovation of the 48 year old Technology and Development Center in San Dimas, California – the hub for fire-fighting equipment and related problem-solving efforts in the West.

The building will produce more than double the energy if consumes by typical upgrades such as replacing the HVAC system, and installing 302 kilowatts of ground mounted solar on 1.5 acres of land.

San Dimas

     In fact, the Forest Service’s Northern Region negotiated a 13-year, $2.6 million energy savings contract that will retrofit 500 facilities at 62 sites severed by 19 different utility providers.  The contract will result in upgrades that include programmable thermostats, heat pumps, lighting, vacancy sensors, attic and foundation insulation, infiltration reduction measures and a 4.9 kW solar PV system.


     Expected to save $250,000 in utility bills a year, it’s being used as a template for two other Forest Service regions.  Since the fire-fighting budget is nowhere near enough to battle the surge in climate-related wildfires, they certainly can use the savings.

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