This is a recent article from HPAC Engineering that describes the history of one of the most famous Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB) in the country.  The Adam Joseph Lewis Center (AJLC) on the campus of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio was designed in 1998 and put into operation in 2000.  This 13,600 ft2 building has been widely publicized as the first and most significant net zero energy building in the US. The article describes just how difficult it is to design and operate a low energy building and moreover how very difficult (I mean approaching impossible) it is to design a ZEB if the energy production systems remain within the footprint of the building.  It also indicates just how “optimistic” energy use simulations can be when the designers are charged with reaching an unreachable goal.  As such, it is a commentary on human nature and the desire of many in our industry to make our work seem better than it really is.  As you will read, the devil is always in the details.
Download: Adam Joseph Lewis Center – A Paler Shade of Green
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Blog Post Written By: Jerry Williams
Blog Post Posted By: Michael Mosbacher