Energy use during “net zero week trial 1″

Summary of Net Zero Commons Trial–by Seth O’Bryan

Below is a table summarizing net energy use in the Commons from March 2-6, 2015.  An important caveat is that this doesn’t include the energy use of the compressors, which drive the heating and cooling.  The compressors are the biggest energy users in the building.   Given the time of year, and this being our first attempt at net zero, the Living Building class wanted to focus on manageable energy uses.


Date Mon 3/2 Tue 3/3 Wed 3/4 Thu 3/5 Fri 3/6
Total use 191.9 148.9 150.53 205.279 134.4
Solar 16.975 7.3 15.7 12.98 80.223
Net energy 175.15 141.6 134.8 192.31 54.18


Throughout the week of trying to reach net zer0, the Living Building class provided visual support and feedback to those interested in the ongoing pursuit and results. The interactive board was used frequently during the week and was the communal responsibility of the class to answer questions about the systems and provide information about the progress.

3 thoughts on “Energy use during “net zero week trial 1″

  1. Solar-dependent!

    What happened to reduce energy use so well on Friday?

    What happened to raise it on Thursday?

    Great start!

    Mr. Ghory

    • Mr. Ghory, great questions. The cool thing is that we can investigate by circuit to see what happened to raise it. We also have a weather station that is collecting data. If I remember correctly, it was pretty cold on Thursday. It’s definitely fascinating that Friday had more solar energy output than the four previous days combined. We are excited to see how much net energy we can gain this summer with the high solar output and the purposeful conservation of energy by turning computers and lights off when we are not using them. We also need to begin to utilize the solar chimneys to ease the use of our VRF system. Thanks for the feedback.

      • Don’t forget to make use of shading and ventilation of windows and skylights. In winter, on sunny days, you want the solar blackout shades open to let in solar heat gain, but close them at night to prevent radiative heat loss. As the days get warmer, programming the skylights to vent at night prior to warm foretasted days will precool the 3rd floor and limit energy use of VRF cooling.

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