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Best ZeroNet EnergyDesign

Grand Awards

West Berkeley Public Library

Berkeley, CA


Kitchel CEM


City of Berkeley


Harley Ellis Devereaux

Judges Statement:

The West Berkeley Public Library is the first verified public ZNE library (Living Building Challenge V3.0 NZEB- see ZNE_LBI-certificate).

The approach to ZNE started with minimizing the footprint of the building. During programming an area reduction was achieved by placing the community room in such a

way that it functions simultaneously as a reading room.

The next ZNE design process step was the optimization of the renewable onsite energy production. Through extensive modeling the optimal building shape was

developed to maximize available area for solar panels. A mixture of solar thermal and photovoltaic solar-panels was employed (see image 3).

This established an energy budget with an EUI (energy use intensity) 17.0 kbtu/sf-yr. (compare to the national median of 92 kbtu/sf-yr per 2030 CHALLENGE ) In order

to match the actual building consumption to the budget a series of passive strategies was developed. An analysis of the local climate data (see : modeling examples)

indicated that the steady breeze from the ocean could be utilized. The facade facing the prevailing wind forms a WIND- CHIMNEY where the wind creates a negative

pressure on its backside that pulls the interior exhaust air out through operable louvers. Fresh air is introduced at a low level intake on the opposite building side, right

next to a small garden. The Wind-chimney works as a passive engine that draws air through the building thus minimizing fan energy (see Image 2).

Solar Thermal panels on the roof produce hot water which flows to the radiant floor system for heating and cooling. The passive strategies are coordinated by a

building management system (BMS) and tied into a roof mounted weather station. The BMS switches between four modes of climate control from heating to natural

ventilation to fan assisted ventilation to finally full cooling. The skylight are operable to support the airflow during low wind periods. There is no traditional HVAC system in

the building.

Daylighting is harvested to minimize electrical lighting (see image 4). Large windows on the north and south side (here with shading) with skylights in the center zone

provide ample natural light to create foremost a pleasant environment for a public library and form the character of the interior space.

After almost 1.5 years in operation the building is on track of surpassing its goal of energy neutrality and is giving more energy back into the utility grid than it uses.

Photographer: David Wakely

The Judges chose to honor 2 communities with awards.

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