Jake Erickson | Mustang News

During the next few months, the Central Coast Zero Net Energy Series will be coming to Cal Poly with the aim of motivating architects, designers, engineers, students and faculty to learn more about the development of sustainable buildings.

The series began Jan. 7 with the first of four events. The series was organized in conjunction with Central Coast Green Building Council (CCGBC) and the Central Coast Chapters of the American Institute of Architects.

“The overarching theme was all of us working together to create a toolkit of resources to work on together to create those specific buildings and also to develop a common language in order to move forward,” CCGBC Communications Coordinator Kori Nielsen said.

The first event included a general overview of the effects of climate change and ways developers can meet zero net energy goals in more efficient and less expensive ways.

“There’s a lot of superior technology alternatives that allow homes to be awesome, to be more cost effective and to leave out carbon sources in the beginning,” Energy and Sustainability Analyst Eric Veium said.

Some of these solutions include designing roofs that accommodate solar panels, beginning to use electrical forms of transportation and removing natural gas by using electrical induction for cooking methods.

Sustainability Coordinator Kylee Singh said she believes understanding these new developments is not only beneficial for Cal Poly, but for its students and their futures.

“We have one of the best engineering and construction management programs in the nation, and so it’s incredibly valuable for students, staff and faculty to get exposed to zero net energy building practices and to be thinking about it especially for their careers in California,” Singh said. “The state is moving quickly towards more zero net energy building mandates, so it is really going to help students in their future careers.”

Those attending the conference had intellectual discussions during a 10-minute break. Jake Erickson | Mustang News

These zero net energy mandates include Title 24, California energy efficiency standards in homes and buildings. According to the California Energy Commission, these standards conserve electricity and natural gas and prevent the state from having to build more power plants.

The zero net energy policy for residential buildings in California will begin in 2020 and in 2030 for commercial buildings.

“Climate change is the challenge of our time and beginning to think about the big structural changes and the small individual changes that we can each make to do our part towards carbon-free is essential,” Veium said.

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