SAN DIEGO–With the goal of achieving 100% renewable energy citywide, the City of San Diego is launching an innovative project to demonstrate how existing municipal buildings can be converted to zero net energy.
The project will focus on three San Diego Public Library locations: Point Loma/Hervey Library, Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa Library and Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library.
Zero net energy (ZNE) is a term that describes buildings, homes and even communities that generate as much renewable energy on site as they use annually. The state of California calls for 50% of existing commercial buildings to be retrofitted to ZNE by 2030.
“The City of San Diego is working to transform our municipal building stock to drastically reduce energy consumption, energy costs, and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Cody Hooven. “These ZNE library projects are proving that it can be done and will serve as an example for future deep energy retrofits of City facilities. We’re excited to bring clean energy resources to these communities and pave the way for the City’s clean energy future one building at a time.”
All three libraries already have solar photovoltaic systems to generate energy. Converting to ZNE will require the installation of additional technologies, including:
- LED lights and new lighting sensors.
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) control devices.
- Building automation systems.
- Energy monitoring equipment.
To accommodate the energy upgrades, some sections of the libraries may be temporarily closed to patron access for short periods of time between Friday, Jan. 17 and Tuesday, March 31.
Currently, each library individually consumes enough electricity to power more than 20 average homes for a year. Once installation work is complete, the Center for Sustainable Energy will begin monitoring to determine if the buildings will achieve ZNE or if additional improvements are required.
The project is being funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission, in cooperation with SDG&E, and could be replicated on buildings across the state.
To learn more and track the progress of the ZNE upgrades, visit http://sites.energycenter.org/sdzn3.
The city’s Climate Action Plan, approved in 2015, calls for eliminating half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the city and aims for all electricity to be from renewable sources by 2035. Last month, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the release of the 2019 Climate Action Plan Annual Report, showing the city is ahead of schedule to meet its clean air goal.