Net-Zero Office Building

Image from LPL Financial on EcoBuildingPulse.com

With the recent unveiling of the nation's largest net-zero energy office building in San Diego, we figured now is a good time to answer the question: what is net-zero energy? And better yet, how can we take its principles into our own homes and workplaces?

Net-zero energy simply means a building produces more electricity than it uses. The new San Diego home of LPL Financial is green in more ways than just that. Let's take a look:

Net-Zero Energy BuildingImage from LPL Financial on EcoBuildingPulse.com

Chief among the building's "green" elements are it's ability to reclaim waste water for use in landscaping and convert biofuel from nearby farms into enough electricity to power the building AND 750 homes.

And here's where the fun starts. While most homes aren't $60 million new construction projects, we can still incorporate similar tricks to make our spaces more resource efficient: 

  • Replace older lighting with more efficient LEDs. Consider freshening your space with a LED desk lamp or modern style LED floor lamp.
  • Keep large appliances (like computers, TVs and stereos) on a power strip and turn the strip off when not in use. These appliances drain electricity even when off.
  • Capture rain water from gutter and/or gray water from sinks for use in irrigating your property.
  • Keep afternoon sun out during summer with blinds or curtains; reverse the process in winter.

Going green isn't an all-or-none proposition, and small changes at home can have a big impact on both the environment and the wallet.

Images: Eco Building Pulse