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Net-zero building projects in northeast vie for $10,000 award from NESEA

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        Photo Courtesy of SunPower Builders

The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) is backing up its commitment to green building with a $10,000 award to a worthy zero net energy project located in the northeastern United States. The award seeks to encourage the melding of elegant, sustainable design and the achievement of zero annual net energy.

Building projects like the zero net energy guest cottage designed and built by SunPower Builders in Collegeville, Pa., exemplify the type of structures that will be considered for this award. It incorporates sustainable design techniques such as passive and active solar, including a 3 kW photovoltaic system, a solar water-heating system and a solar radiant heated floor.

These and other elements were combined with antique detailing as well as salvaged and eco-friendly materials to replicate the other historic buildings on the property. As a result the cottage used less than $200 in energy costs over its first year.

“If the U.S. is going to reach a target of 80% carbon emission reduction by 2050, that means that we need to be building zero net energy projects in every instance possible, based on how long new building stock will be around,” said Jennifer Marrapese, JD MA, interim executive director of NESEA. “The NESEA Zero Net Building Award, and projects like this one in Pennsylvania, provides a great blueprint for helping us reach that goal.”

Based on the definition for zero energy buildings used by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NESEA believes that “zero net energy buildings reduce energy load to the minimum practical level, then capture on-site the required amount of renewable energy to satisfy remaining needs.”

NESEA will present the $10,000 cash award to winners in March during its annual conference and tradeshow, BuildingEnergy 2010. Last year, the prize went to the owners of a Charlotte, Vermont residence for achieving 12 months of zero net energy use.

For more info: Visit the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's website.

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