Let’s explore Net Zero together

Hi.  I’m Mary Nitschke.  Let’s explore Net Zero together.

I am honored and excited to explore converting two apartment buildings into Net Zero Energy Buildings.  I feel incredibly lucky to get to do this.  Most people don’t get the opportunity to take a building off the grid, let alone two.  And I am fortunate enough that I get to share the adventure at it happens.  Ten years ago, had I started a blog to share this, I think only my mom would have read it.  Now, you are here.  Thank you.  I think it is important before we start to define what Net Zero will mean for these buildings, and what I am using as my definition of Net Zero.

Why are we defining Net Zero for this adventure?

Because if search on Net Zero on the inter-web, you will see loads of variations of what it means to be Net Zero.  Basically in a rolling 12 month period, the buildings I convert to Net Zero will make as much energy as they need in renewables, including average in-apartment consumption.

How do I think we are going to do this?

The first step will be to tighten down my buildings.  What I mean by this, is that first we need to look at how these buildings are using energy to see if where there are inefficiencies.  There will be inefficiencies; those are pretty normal.  If you think that your buildings have no places that they are wasting energy, then you are in denial.  So let’s make these buildings, which I will share with you next week, efficient.  We are going to look at the Apartment units to see if we have any fixtures, lights, etc. that need to be swapped out for more efficient ones.  We will take look at the energy consumption for a few of the occupied units to create baseline consumption for the units.  Finally, once the buildings common areas, ventilation, hot water, and units are efficient, THEN we put onsite generation systems in place.  (If you just throw solar on top, you might as well put lipstick on a pig)

Who will be my partners?

I am grateful that my on-site team for these buildings doesn’t actually think that I am crazy and they are supportive of this project.  Their participation is critical.  And I am lucky to be working with the Association of Energy Affordability, who will be critical too this process to.

So, what next?

Next week, I will introduce the two buildings and share a little about their current construction.