Zero Net Energy Building Award This year, our community advanced the benchmark to net-plus By Sally Pick
The Zero Net Energy Building Award (ZNEBA) program reached new heights this year, its seventh. A record 11 entrants (out of 13) met our energy criteria, but further, 4 of the judges’ top 5 picks, profiled below, are net energy producers. That includes the winning entry, the Bosarge Family Education Center—which, remarkably, is net energy positive for the year despite Maine’s chilly winters. These sustainable buildings are built or retrofitted to require as little energy as possible and then offset that energy with renewables, typically a modest array of solar photovoltaics (PV), that generate clean electricity. Each took a unique path to zero net or net-plus energy. Here are their stories. Systems details, such as insulation types and amounts, window U-factors, brand names, mechanical systems, and kilowatts of PV for these and other entrants are available at NESEA.org (go to Programs).
The Bosarge Family Education Center Maclay Architects
Net-plus on the Maine coast The Bosarge Family Education Center at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, in Boothbay, is Maine’s first net-zero institutional building. It’s the attractive, replicable work of Maclay Architects of Waitsfield, VT, 8
| Fall 2013 BuildingEnergy
The winner: Triple-pane argon-filled windows allow loads of light and garden views into the Bosarge Center’s spacious classroom. See page 50 for a cutaway view of wall, roof, and floor systems.
in collaboration with Scott Simons Architects of Portland, ME, and builder Bensonwood of Walpole, NH. Their joint attainment of not just net zero, but netplus, in such a cold climate, and with a panelized system, was duly recognized by the judges. “The building’s impressive airtightness levels,” they wrote, “are a testament to the builder, . . . the design team, and the process. It also brings great hope to the industry, which has relied mostly on custom, site-built and intensively resourced structures in order to achieve such energy performance levels.” The botanical gardens set a number of challenging goals for the project. Ed and Marie Bosarge, the major donors for the center, specified that the building meet several measures of sustainability: it had to be net zero, qualify as LEED Platinum certified, and offer visitors the
opportunity to learn about sustainable building practices. It also had to provide an attractive entry to the gardens. All this on a very tight timeline, from late
The attainment of not just net zero, but net-plus, in such a cold climate, and with a panelized system, was duly recognized by the judges.
fall of 2010 through spring of 2011. “It was incredibly important that the construction be done by the tourist season in June,” according to architect Bill Maclay. With these challenges in mind,