New county website helps you design ‘net-zero’ energy homes and buildingsby Pima County News on Mar. 05, 2012, under Environmental Quality, Housing, Pima County, Solar Energy, Southern Arizona, Tucson
Pima County, Ariz. (Mar. 5, 2012) - A new Pima County web site provides you with the tools to design “Net-Zero” energy homes, apartments, offices and retail buildings that won’t use more energy than they create.
The information can also be used to remodel a structure to save energy costs.
The website, http://www.pima.gov/netzero, has a residential section and a commercial section for apartments, retail and offices with calculators based on the City of Tucson/Pima County Net-Zero Energy Standard.
“We are pleased to have another terrific tool for helping the community reduce energy use. Energy bills are a significant portion of the cost of running a business or owning a home,” said Leslie Ethen, Director of the City of Tucson’s Office of Conservation and Sustainable Development. “Resources like this and the City’s Green Business Certification program are ways in which we can help businesses and homeowners reduce these costs.”
Working with a few basic facts about the design of the building, such as the shape of the roof, the orientation of the building and number of stories, the website can calculate the building’s “energy budget.”
The website provides a “recipe card,” or set of energy efficiency building elements, to be incorporated in the design.
The website also has a calculator to determine the financial performance of the building.
The site is useful to homeowners, commercial builders and commercial property owners, who can use the information for new construction or for renovation of existing structures, to reduce energy costs.
Net-Zero homes and apartments can save residents money every month, said Rich Franz-Under, Pima County’s Green Building Program Manager. A typical home owner can save between $40 and $80 a month because of significantly lower utility bills, he said.
Pima County and the City of Tucson are the first governmental jurisdictions in the nation to develop a building standard to achieve Net-Zero energy.
The City of Tucson’s Office of Conservation and Sustainable Development (OCSD) provided the funding for the project through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Pima County Development Services, Building Safety and Sustainability made up the principal research group on the web project, with assistance from the University of Arizona College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Tucson Water.
Pima County led the development of a regional green-building rating system for homes in 2008. Using that knowledge, the County worked with its collaborators to develop the Net-Zero energy code.