DC Launches Pilot Program for Net Zero Energy Early Adopters

by Nena Perry-Brown

A rendering of the net-zero renovation of the American Geophysical Union headquarters in DC.

As the District endeavors to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2050, net-zero energy (NZE) construction is on the horizon to become the city standard.

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) are currently administering a pilot program to speed the way for builders who are seeking to achieve net-zero energy (NZE) residential development. 

The building code is expected to be updated within the next few years to require NZE for all new construction. These goals, established in the Department of Energy and Environment's (DOEE) Clean Energy DC Plan and in the Sustainable DC 2.0 Plan, also anticipate the building code changing to require new residential construction adhere to NZE standards starting in 2022.

As recommended in the Clean Energy plan, the city is also establishing incentives for NZE construction. Here is how the pilot program will provide those incentives:

During the permitting phase, selected NZE applications will be assigned a Green Ambassador at DCRA to steer the application through the process and coordinate with ancillary agencies. The Ambassador will also advance the permitting process for the project. Once a permit is issued to qualified projects, DCRA and DCSEU may award up to $10,000.

There will be a series of reviews and on-site inspections throughout the permitting and construction process to ensure NZE compliance. Completed NZE projects will be highlighted as case studies, and a directory of professionals who worked on approved NZE developments will also be created.

DCRA is accepting builders into the pilot program on a case-by-case basis. The monetary incentive has already been granted to two projects in fiscal year 2019; another 4-5 NZE projects are currently in the permitting phase.

The pilot program is taking place concurrent with the city's investment this year in creating a "High Performance Building Hub" to guide builders to achieve the latest high performance energy standards. The Hub is expected to officially launch next fall.

Buildings that meet NZE standards produce, on-site or off-site, at least as much energy as they consume over the course of a year.

See other articles related to: nze, net zero, energy code, doee, dcseu, dcra

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dcra-and-dcseu-pilot-program-for-net-zero-energy-early-adopters/16215

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