PG&E unveils zero net energy home display and modular classroom

| by Teena Hammond
PG&E unveils zero net energy home display and modular classroom

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is unveiling the utility's first zero net energy home display and modular classroom at its Energy Training Center in Stockton, Calif. The home display features best-in-class methods used by three residential zero net energy experts, while the modular classroom demonstrates zero net energy building techniques and design in practice.

"The addition of these ground-breaking zero net energy educational resources to PG&E's Energy Training Center truly complements our zero net energy curriculum, which equips students to address the demand for improved energy performance in new and existing housing," said Gary Girardi, supervisor of PG&E's Energy Training Center. The oldest of its kind in the U.S., PG&E's Energy Training Center provides continuing education for businesses, construction professionals and participants of energy efficiency education programs.

"Those in the building industry face aggressive energy-saving standards," Girardi added, "and we look forward to using our expertise and resources – including the two exciting and new resources we have now added – to help them realize the energy savings possible through zero net energy buildings."

The new home display and modular classroom support an action plan of the California Public Utilities Commission for all new residential construction in California to be zero net energy by 2020. The goal for new commercial construction is to achieve zero net energy by 2030. Zero net energy buildings produce as much clean energy as they use during a year through a combination of designed energy efficiency and on-site, grid-tied renewable energy production.

The zero net energy home display provides residential builders with hands-on guidance on how to apply the principles to their practice, including how to design a highly efficient building and how to cost-effectively size on-site renewable generation. A short video features zero net energy experts Ann Edminster, Rick Chitwood and Steve Easley demonstrating how technologies and strategies contributed to zero net energy results at a single-family home in San Jose, Calif.

Engineered and manufactured by American Modular Systems, the "Gen7" zero net energy modular classroom leverages advanced design and performance to exceed Title 24 energy standards by an average of 50 percent before the addition of renewable energy. Energy-efficient features include an ultra-tight building envelope, high R-value insulation, large low-E view windows and skylights, natural ventilation, and automatic light and climate control. With the addition of roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, the classroom becomes zero net energy.

Read more about building a green home.

Topics: Building Green, Going Green, Lighting, Solar Power, Windows

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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