We hear about energy efficiency, greenhouse gases, renewable energy, and carbon emissions more frequently these days, but maybe not as popular is Net Zero Energy Building or Net Zero Energy Building Ready. These aren’t new concepts, but with the flurry of attention on energy savings, we wanted to check into the current status for Michigan Commercial Building Owners. Since the Michigan Energy Code (2015) was adopted in 2017 in Michigan, how far are our Commercial Building owners from achieving Net Zero Energy Building Ready?
Net Zero Energy is achieved once a building is setup to only expend as much or less energy as it generates from renewable energy sources over the course of a year. This means that an Owner has to make their building envelope and systems energy efficient, and add solar or geothermal, or pay a premium for other clean sources such as wind or biomass to generate energy that offsets what it expends. Once this happens, an Owner can get their building Net Zero Energy Certified.
The Michigan Energy Code already requires lighting controls to save on energy (read our blog on this topic). The federal government also requires new builds to have HVAC roof top units (RTUs) that meet a specific energy rating. Furthermore, new buildings should already be well insulated, sealed, have reasonably high efficiency windows, and possibly high efficiency appliances. Therefore, Michigan’s new commercial buildings should be well on their way to Net Zero Energy Ready, albeit with room for more efficiency to lessen carbon emissions. If this is your goal, there are numerous ways to become more energy efficient, plus significant, additional steps to incorporate your ideal renewable energy source prior to achieving certification.
That State of Michigan has a goal of achieving economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050 known as the MI Healthy Climate Plan. Additionally, LARA is currently updating the Michigan Energy Code for 2022 and it is presumed that there will be tweaks for more efficiency to apply to future buildings. The good news is that there are presently several rebates, tax incentives, and grants to off-set the associated costs required and also for additional implementations beyond the regulations. (See more https://programs.dsireusa.org/system/program?state=MI ).
What Business Owners Need to Know?
Energy efficiency compliance and improvements are going to be a factor in any new building or significant remodel. It will likely increase the budget, but be offset on your energy bills going forward. If Net Zero is a goal for your business, Wolgast works with Manufacturing, Healthcare, K-12 Education, and Restaurant Building Owners to achieve all their design and construction needs, even when it’s for energy efficiency. Call us to find out more.