ASHRAE wrapped up its Net-Zero Energy Conference here in San Francisco. I was fortunate to attend some of the educational sessions during this three-day conference, which ran from March 29-31 at the Fisherman’s Wharf Hyatt. 

ASHRAE wrapped up its Net-Zero Energy Conference here in San Francisco. I was fortunate to attend some of the educational sessions during this three-day conference, which ran from March 29-31 at the Fisherman’s Wharf Hyatt.

Snips will have full coverage of the event in its July issue, which is dedicated to green building and sustainability. Hopefully, you’ll learn a thing or two when the article is in print. I know I definitely learned a few things.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers has been working overtime to make net-zero energy facilities a reality. One way to classify a net-zero building are those building that annually use no more energy from the utility grid than is provided by on-site renewable energy sources.

ASHRAE officials recognize that they have their work cut out for them when it comes to finding net-zero energy solutions. The Department of Energy has called for all new commercial buildings constructed in the United States to be net zero by 2030. And by 2050, all commercial buildings need to be net zero.

The conference illustrated that this is going to be a difficult task. But it’s not impossible. The conference speakers had a lot to say about the challenges involved in constructing these net-zero facilities. But for every challenge discussed, there was a glimmer of hope. There are already a total of seven net-zero buildings in existence. And research on the concept is finding new technologies and solutions.

If there was one thing I took away from this conference, it was the realization that net-zero energy buildings may actually be a reality. It may be 20 or 30 years down the line, but the United States may be on its way to drastically reducing its energy use in buildings. And if that happens, you can thank ASHRAE officials.