by Alison Lueders, Great Green Editing
This week we highlight a new “net-zero energy” building that is going up in Riverview, Florida.
A “net-zero building” is one that uses no external energy overall throughout the entire year. It may consume energy such as electricity from the utility company at times, but it produces electricity at other times. The result: net-zero energy use.
It is one of the many exciting frontiers of sustainability. Why? Because traditional buildings use about 40% of all fossil-fuel energy in the U.S. Net-zero buildings – both residential and commercial – can make a huge dent in reducing energy demand, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and combating climate change.
Collman & Karsky Architects of Tampa have designed a new net-zero office for the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union.
This 4,767 square foot office showcases many green building features, including:
Clean, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
- a roof-mounted 40 kilowatt photovoltaic solar panel system. The system monitors both solar usage and the solar energy being sold back to Tampa Electric.
- a geothermal HVAC system for heating and cooling
- daylight-harvesting light sensors that enable the building to direct outdoor light indoors
- vacancy-sensing light switches that turn off lights in empty rooms
- LED lights that minimize the energy required for office lighting
Sustainable Water Management
Another essential aspect to “greener” buildings is water usage. This building saves water and reduces run-off through:
- low flow water-saving toilets and faucets
- drip-type irrigation for outdoor landscaping
- xeriscaping with native Florida plants
- porous paving that allows rain water to penetrate back into the ground
More Attention to Health and Beauty
Last but certainly not least, the building offers healthy and inviting interiors. It will use:
- low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, carpet, ceiling tiles and furniture
- high impact resistant glass windows to provide beautiful outdoor views
This building represents Collman & Karsky Architects’ continued commitment to green initiatives that began over 10 years ago. It is the firm’s first net-zero design. The building construction began in July 2013 and is expected to finish in October 2013.
I hope they give tours!