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Zero Net Energy Library Project

"ZN3"

Picture of Point Loma Library ZN3 Kiosk

The City of San Diego, in partnership with the Center for Sustainable Energy, California Energy Commission, Mazzetti Inc., M+NLB Construction Services, San Diego Green Building Council and San Diego Gas & Electric completed a multiyear project to test, verify, and publicize the integration of energy efficiency, onsite renewable power and other demand-side resources to convert three public libraries to near zero-net energy buildings. 

Energy-conservation measures implemented included light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, lighting controls, plug load management devices, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning controls and whole-building automation platforms that measure demand trends to optimize equipment operations. 

The project also engaged and educated library staff, volunteers, and community members through interactive, in-library kiosks on zero-net energy and integrated demand side management strategies, sustainable energy and associated environmental benefits, extending energy savings beyond the three project sites. 

To measure success, the project team conducted pre- and post-construction surveys of library staff and volunteers. The team also conducted nine months of post-retrofit measurement and verification with a three-month projection to estimate annual post-retrofit energy consumption due to COVID-19 shutdown of the libraries. 

The project results indicated that the energy-efficiency measures reduced electric consumption at the libraries from 13 to 30 percent. Photovoltaics were installed at each of the libraries independent of the grant. As a result, two of the libraries were able to achieve near zero-net energy due to combining the photovoltaics and energy-efficiency measures. The project demonstrated a blue print to achieve near zero-net energy for other City of San Diego municipal buildings along with the benefits and challenges of retrofitting existing buildings.