Net-Zero Building Program Certifies First Two

What do a community building in Oregon and an office building in California have in common? They’re the first two projects to earn net-zero status under the International Living Building Institute‘s Net Zero Energy Certification program.

To meet the standards of this rigorous green certification program, Painters Hall, a community building in Salem’s Pringle Creek development, and the IDeAs Z2 Design Facility, an office building for Integrated Design Associates in San Jose, had to find a way not only to generate as much energy as they consume, but to treat all of their own wastewater on site.

image via Painters Hall Cafe

Net Zero Energy Building Certification is linked to the Living Building Challenge, and, as with the Challenge (and unlike the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program), certification is based on the building’s actual performance, rather than on modeled outcomes. (As a consequence, buildings must be operational for at least 12 consecutive months prior to evaluation to earn certification.) Net Zero Energy Building Certification is based on the Living Building Challenge’s 20 Imperatives, which must be met completely, with elements of two others included as well.

net zero IDeAs z2 building

image via IDeAs

The Pringle Creek community center is a renovated 80-year-old building within the 32-acre mixed-use redevelopment in Salem, while the Ideas Z2 Facility is a renovated U.S. Bank building constructed in the 1960s. Both were designed to meet all of their electricity needs with solar power arrays. Additionally, the Pringle Creek project  earned “Petal” certification from the International Living Buildings Institute in the areas of Energy, Equity, and Beauty.

More on International Living Buildings Institute and its Net Zero Energy Certification is available online.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.