Three Public Libraries Going Zero Net Energy

Libraries are the cornerstones of our communities. More than just a repository for books, libraries provide a portal for knowledge, a public gathering place and respite from our busy lives. Given their importance, shouldn’t our library buildings also provide an opportunity to learn more about energy efficiency?

We believe the answer is a resounding yes.

That’s why SDG&E is contributing $50,000 and our expertise to help to upgrade three public libraries in San Diego to zero net energy (ZNE). A ZNE building is highly energy efficient and produces as much energy as it consumes.

Multi-Year Project to Upgrade Libraries

The libraries benefitting from the retrofit include the Serra Mesa – Kearny Mesa Library, Point Loma – Hervey Library, and the Valencia Park – Malcolm X Library. The SD ZN3 Project includes the integration of energy efficiency technology, on-site solar photovoltaic generation, and demand management to reduce or shift electricity use during peak periods at the three libraries to achieve zero net energy status.

The multi-year project will look at the benefits and barriers of implementing energy efficiency technologies in public buildings, including ways to finance ZNE measures. Additionally, the program will teach library staff and community members about the benefits of ZNE. On-site kiosks will display information about ZNE and library energy efficiency enhancements for the public.

In addition to solar energy, some of the technologies the libraries will be equipped with to achieve ZNE status include energy-use monitoring systems, LED lighting and controls and devices that manage heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Collaboration is the Key

The project is the result of a collaboration between the California Energy Commission (CEC), City of San Diego, Center for Sustainable Energy, SDG&E and the U.S. Green Building Council.

SDG&E and CSE are currently working together to find other innovative new technologies that will help the libraries meet their ultimate goal of ZNE.

In addition to SDG&E’s contribution, the project is funded through a $2.7 million grant from the CEC as part of its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Program. The program was created by the CEC to support investments in clean energy technologies.