Fresno State University’s recent A Path to Zero Net Energy Symposium, led and moderated by faculty from the university’s College of Engineering, School of Business and Department of Construction Management, engaged university students, builders, real estate agents, government officials and urban planners on the role of Zero Net Energy (ZNE) construction in California’s energy goals.
The symposium featured Commissioner Andrew McAllister of the California Energy Commission (CEC) as keynote speaker. Panelists included Robert Raymer, senior engineer/technical director at the California Building Industry Association, Brandon De Young, executive vice president of De Young Properties, and Tom Harvey, senior manager at Tesla Energy.
McAllister’s address covered the future of clean energy in California, the history of the state’s energy goals, and the ways in which builders can meet the new CEC building codes. “To reach California’s ambitious climate and energy goals, we must push past status quo thinking to get the most out of each construction investment,” said McAllister, the CEC’s lead on energy efficiency and buildings. “This extends to not only residential construction, but also commercial construction and renovation of State buildings. To get the high level of performance we need from our buildings, each project must apply the most up-to-date clean technologies and practices, taking care to achieve long-lasting, quality installation.”
Raymer addressed the role of ZNE construction the California home building industry, including the need for workforce training geared towards ZNE and the recent wave of ZNE homes constructed at a “financially feasible” price point. Tom Harvey addressed the role of battery storage in solar energy production, and introduced the functions of Tesla’s Powerwall home battery.
Garth Torvestad, senior technical consultant at ConSol, explained his company’s partnership with De Young Properties, including its research studies of the builder’s two single-family ZNE subdivisions in Clovis, California. Brandon De Young spoke to the challenges of building ZNE homes that were both cost-effective and feasible at scale, as well as the role of ZNE homes in the decarburization of California’s energy supply.
“California is truly setting the standard for clean energy and the collaboration we discussed today between State regulation entities, public utilities, the homebuilding industry, educational institutions and technology companies is the synergy needed to meet these requirements and continue to serve the public and our communities in the best, most efficient way possible,” said De Young. “De Young Properties is proud of the role we have had in leading green building practices in California with our Zero Energy communities and education outreach.”
Attendees were able to tour De Young’s Zero Energy homes and the De Young SmartHome Experience Center following the symposium.