Oregon Buildings Strive to Reach Net-Zero Energy Goal in ETO Pilot

Fifteen new commercial building projects will push the limits of energy performance under a pilot program offered by the Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO).  The Path to Net-Zero pilot program is targeting buildings that will achieve the lowest possible energy use goal of net-zero, meaning the building gets all the energy it needs from renewable sources, preferably sources located on the building’s footprint. Participants are eligible to receive enhanced incentives and technical assistance for constructing buildings that are at least 50% better than Oregon’s energy code.

The pilot is structured around four design stages: Early Design Assistance, Enhanced Technical Assistance, Equipment Installation and commissioning, and Monitoring and Reporting (M&R). Proof of completion of each stage ensures a corresponding incentive payout that is meant to help the projects “pencil out.” In an effort to scale the offering to match the size of any individual project, ETO is allowing project teams to participate in any or all of the four stages so long as they achieve the 50% energy savings goal.

Of particular interest are the requirements and specifications associated with the M&R stage of the offering. Structured around the early development of an M&R plan and the collection of whole building interval data, ETO will review the data with building operators, owners and design teams over a required 18-month period. This will answer questions about how the building is actually performing versus how it was expected to perform, help determine the effectiveness of the ETO pilot program and hopefully paint a more complete picture of  the strategies and features that are characteristic in low-energy buildings.

Stay tuned for more on the progress of these projects and findings of the ETO pilot program.