Community Renewable Energy Success Stories Webinar: Net Zero Energy Communities (text version)
Below is the text version of the Webinar titled "Community Renewable Energy Success Stories – Net Zero Energy Communities," originally presented on October 16, 2012.
The broadcast is now starting. All attendees are in listen-only mode.
Good afternoon, and welcome to today's webinar sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. This is Ken Kelly, and Courtney Kendall broadcasting live from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. We'll give folks a few more minutes to call in and logon. So while we wait, Courtney was going to go over some of the logistics and then we'll begin with today's webinar.
Good afternoon. First of all, you have two options as to how you can hear today's webinar. In the upper right corner of your screen there is a box that says audio mode. That will allow you to choose whether or not you want to listen to the webinar through your computer speakers, or a telephone. As a rule, if you can listen to music on your computer, you should be able to hear the webinar. If you have questions during the webinar, please go the questions pane in the right-hand box on your screen. There you can type in any question you may have during the question and answer segment at the end of the webinar.
After today's webinar, you will be prompted to complete a short survey. Please take a few minutes to submit your answers when the webinar has ended. Today's webinar will be posted online on the community Renewable Energy Deployment website. Once the presentation is posted, you will receive a link to it via email when it's available. Please note that this process can take seven to fourteen days. With that, I'll turn it back over to Ken to talk about today's webinar, and our overall series.
Today's webinar is the fourth in a series of U.S. Department of Energy's Community Renewal Energy, or what we call COM RE, Success Stories. Each of our webinars feature communities that successfully implemented renewal energy technologies covering lessons learned, challenges, and successes. The COM RE project is more than a $20 million effort funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to promote investment in clean energy solutions at the community level, and provide real life examples for other local governments, campuses, and utilities to replicate.
Five community-based renewal energy projects received funding from the DOE through COM RE in Vermont, Wisconsin, Colorado, and California. This webinar series is part of a broader support to communities provided under this project and provide success stories from both COM RE grantees and other communities leading the way in renewal energy around the country.
Today's presentation will feature information on two communities that have developed net zero energy communities. U.C. Davis in California, and Kapolei in Hawaii. So let's just dive right in.
I'd like to first introduce our first speaker, Dr. Sid England. Sid is Assistant Vice Chancellor for environmental stewardship and sustainability at U.C. Davis, and has worked on campus planning issues for over twenty-five years. His office coordinates campus sustainability programs including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and waste generation. He leads a number of energy and environmental initiatives on campus, and also oversees environmental planning in natural resource management.
Sid received his PhD in ecology from U.C. Davis. With that, I'll hand it over to you, Sid.
Thank you, Ken. It's a pleasure to be here, and to be able to talk about an exciting project that we've been working on here at the campus now for – well, twelve years ago the idea of West Village first came to our chancellor, and the idea behind West Village was to create a community on campus where people could live close to campus and really be a full part of the daily life of the campus. We live in a community called Davis, California, which is a no-growth, slow-growth community, and housing prices were beginning to become unaffordable for our new faculty and staff. We have the luxury of being a rather large campus with about 5,300 acres, and we're building this community on about 200 acres right adjacent to the campus.
We call this the largest planned zero net energy community in the United States. And I always preface this by saying we think it is. If there is any larger around, we'd love to hear about them, but we haven't heard of one so far.
Plan is important. It is a work in progress, although you see the photograph here. This is part of West Village. Parts of it exist and people are living there already today. And zero net energy, our definition is we wanted to have zero net energy on an annual basis from the grid. So at any given moment we may be putting power into the grid or taking power out, but on an annual basis, we want to be able to come up with zero as our net.
Just to give a little orientation as to where we're located, this is central California. Where my arrow is down here is where San Francisco is located. Here's San Francisco Bay. And then you come up through the delta and the red dot here in the central valley of California is where Davis is located. Zoom in a little bit further. We're just at the north end of the San Joaquin, Sacramento River Delta, which actually is an important part in helping us to design the community.
This is the community of Davis here. Sacramento is over here where I have my arrow, over here on the right-hand side, so we're about fifteen minutes from the capital. And the campus sits just to the southwest of the community of Davis.
Here we are a little bit closer. This is the community of Davis. This is the core campus where most of our academic and administrative buildings are located. That's about 900 acres. Just to put that in perspective, the Berkeley campus is about 250 acres, and UCLA is about 400. So just our core campus here is bigger than UCLA and U.C. Berkeley combined.
These are our Ag research fields out here, and this is the 200 acres right in this area where the little marker is where we're building the West Village community. Here's the boundary of the campus. We have really great freeway access, Sacramento up here to the right, San Francisco down here to the southwest, and then the community of Woodland up to the north.
West Village is being built, as I said, on about 200 acres just on the other side of Highway 113. And this little red arrow represents the fact we have a direct bicycle connection right from West Village to the heart of the campus. Davis is known for its bicycle transportation. We estimate about 20,000 bicycles on campus on any given day.
West Village, when it's all developed will be about 200 acres. There'll be about 475 privately owned single-family dwellings. The improvements on the property will be owned by faculty and staff, however, the land is a permanent ground lease from the university. So residents there will not own the property, and through the lease we can ensure that people who live there actually are university employees, and that when they sell the house, that they're replaced by university employees.
We'll have about 3,000 student beds. There'll be close to 5,000 people living there when all is said and done. About 45,000 square feet of retail office space in a mixed-use center for the community, and we'll have about 60,000 square feet of space for Los Rios Community College, which will be, at least in California, the first community college on a university campus.
The part that I just highlighted in orange is Phase 1 which is under development currently. And I want to emphasize, too, that this is a public-private partnership. The university went out and solicited nationally for a private developer to come in and become our partner on it. Certainly building a community is not the expertise of the University of California, so we brought in an outside developer, and so this is a (self-contained) project in the sense that there's no university funds going into the project. The developer has investors and they have to make a return on their profit. We're also constrained by the fact that we want this to be affordable for faculty and staff, and that means we can't just add bells and whistles and make the community more expensive. We have to stay within our parameters of what's affordable.
This illustration shows the site plan. I want to highlight starting in the middle right here, this is our Village Square. The Village Square is about an acre in size, and that's the heart of the community there. The red around it is the mixed use with commercial retail on the ground floor and three stories of apartments above. The light green goes down to the southeast and off to the west, that's where the student apartments are being constructed, and you'll see a photo shortly of where we are in that process.
The yellow areas up here are where we're going to be building single-family homes for our faculty and staff. We have not broken ground on those yet in terms of building them. We're working with the private developer on some of the final contract negotiations for price points and that sort of thing for those homes.
The blue down here is where the community college is located. That first building there I have the arrow on is their first building that opened this past January, and there's a couple thousand students per day coming there and currently taking classes. And I believe it was LEED silver is what they achieved for that building on the site.
This is a photograph of what West Village looks like today, so it is a real project. There's something about this aerial photo for some reason, it looks like a rendering, but it's not. So these apartments, here's the Village Square where I have the arrow now. Here are the six four-story buildings that surround the Village Square with apartments above and commercial retail on the ground floor.
So these apartments were occupied a year ago September. These apartments were just occupied this past September. And these foundations and footprints out here heading out this way are the next five – what's going on here? I need to go backwards a couple of slides. Here we go.
These are where the next 500 have broken ground, are under construction now, and they will be occupied this coming September, about a year from now. This is the community college here, and you can see parking out here on the side. We'll come back to the photovoltaics and things in a little bit.
So our project goals, we wanted to create a really great community. The university has really no business doing development unless we really create where our faculty, staff and students want to live. We have to make it affordable. We know what our folks can afford, so it has to stay within those boundaries.
And right from the beginning we picked environmental responsiveness as one of our site planning criteria as we went forward. And exactly what that meant sort of the developed over time. So this is just to give you an idea here of – here's an earlier version of the community plan, but all of the red lines on here represent bicycle and paths through the neighborhood. So you'll never be more than half a block away from getting on a bicycle lane or on a bicycle path that can bring you right into campus.
If you live in this neighborhood, you will not be able to buy a parking permit on campus unless there's an exception like accessibility and that sort of thing. We've done a study where we looked at what that effect would be of having this many people living on campus arriving by bikes rather than purchasing homes or living elsewhere in the surrounding communities. And we estimated that we avoided building one 1,500 square foot parking space parking structure, and the multimillion dollars that that saved in the process.
The dark line that runs from the campus, goes up past the Village Square and then out through the middle, that is our bus route. Down here in the lower right we have a picture of one of our Unitrans buses. We have a student-operated bus system that has about three million boardings a year. When the West Village is built, we estimate you'll always be within a five-minute walk, and a bus will arrive every ten to twelve minutes. So you will not even have to check your schedule to determine when you might get on a bus.
This was one of our early slides of environmental responsiveness. The different dotted lines to the neighborhood represents our drainage pattern, and we're collecting runoff into swells, and having onsite percolation for the most part unless we have a really large flood.
The red swath here with the sun at each end represents the sun coming up in the east and going down in the west. So solar access and orientation of lots and rooflines has been a constant theme since the very beginning. And it's interesting, when we set some of these goals of zero net energy, you know, one of the lessons we've learned is that everything winds up being connected to everything else. So these purple squiggly lines that come down here represent the Delta breeze. And the way the environment works here in central valley of California, or least in the Davis area, is that in the summer at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon we can be well above 100, 105 and even higher. And then what happens in the late afternoon, early evening is the breeze comes up through San Francisco Bay up through the Delta. By the time you get up the next morning the temperature can be in the upper 50s. So we can get a forty to fifty degree swing in temperature in one day.
We wanted to be able to capture that as you know, Mother Nature providing free cooling for us, so we were conscious from the beginning again how everything's connected right down to the point where we're thinking about some of the landscape that we might put out there. We want trees for shading, but we also want the breeze captured. We want trees to be deciduous so that we can get the winter insulation. So all of those things have been integrated as we move forward with the project.
The thing of real interest today of course, is our zero net energy. This is a goal we added afterwards. This is not a goal that we started off with at the beginning of the project. We already had approved the project. We'd already selected and signed our master contracts with our developer partner, and then in working with them we went forward and added this. So this is not a requirement that the developer has to do to meet contractual obligations. This is something that West Village community partnership is engaged in, and worked with us to try to make it a reality. The goals for the zero net energy are first no higher costs to the consumer. Again, we can't just go adding bells and whistles. And I'm going to talk about what that means a little bit towards the end of the talk, about what that means with regard to no higher costs to the consumer. How we interpret that and what that means for the owner of the home.
Also, no higher costs to the developer. Again, it's a real world project. No university funds, and they have their profit margins made. Zero net energy from the grid on an annual basis is our goal. And when people ask, you know, how do you go about doing this? It's the old mantra, energy conservation, energy conservation, energy conservation. That's certainly the most important thing that helps us even think about the possibility of doing this.
We're looking to try to have multiple integrated renewable resources at a community scale. As we've done feasibility analysis we're moving really very heavily towards photovoltaics as being the primary method of meeting the renewables. We also have a biodigester component that I'll talk about in a little bit. And we want to make it at least smart grid ready is another goal as well.
So the timeline is, we started working with the Davis Energy Efficiency Center which is one of our campus centers of excellence. They helped us with an advisory committee in 2006 working with some DOE Build America program funds and the Davis Energy Group, we did a study to see what we could put in, in terms of energy efficiency, and found that we could really do a significant reduction in energy demand, and that gave us the idea that we might be able to match that renewables on site.
Chevron Energy Solutions helped with some of the initial analysis, working actually for our developer partner. And then we've gone through over time and we have several grants that we've received from the Department of Energy, from the California Energy Commission, and from the California Public Utilities Commission. They're helping us with some of the background work and analysis.
So the first goal is to reduce and try to reduce as much as we can the energy demand for the neighborhood. That's first and most important. I'm just going to show you here a couple of slides some of the energy efficiency designs that were included. Nothing here is you know, that cutting edge or bleeding edge as we call it. But what's interesting here is we've put it all together as a package I think from the very beginning with the goal of trying to get to the zero net energy goal.
We were able to take advantage of some of our academic partners on campus. I'll show you a slide at the end with some of those groups that we have here at U.C. Davis. But one of the things that we did that was interesting was working with our Energy Efficiency Center. We put out a call to private sector companies saying do you believe you have a technology that might be ready. We had a two-day interview with academics, with our developer partner, with his mechanical and electrical, plumbing engineers. His architect. And we went through and evaluated those and were able to give that information to the developer to help him make his decisions about those kinds of things that he might want to include in the design of for what we called deep energy conservation measures. So these are certainly the most important thing that we do are the energy efficiency.
This is a model of what we looked at the energy – this is a little out of date. It's a couple of years old. Some things have evolved. But it gives you a general idea. This shows you the remodeling results of the different parts of the community. The _____ community college, the mixed use buildings, multifamily, single-family, and the different loads, electrical demands and the energy demands on the system. And this is what we modeled meeting the California Energy Efficiency title point for 2008 construction standards. This is what we modeled that the energy use would be. So this is already – energy efficiency standards in California are already fairly high compared to other places in the country, so this is already lower than a lot of places. This is what we modeled by putting our affordable deep energy conservation measures into the construction, what we'll be able to reduce it to. It's roughly about a 50% or so reduction in energy demand.
And what you see left there, those tallest boxes, bars there on the chart, really a lot of that is plug load. There's not a lot more that we felt we could do that would be – I mean there are other things that you could do, but not more that would make sense before we started investing money in renewal energy.
So we're talking about producing. We want to find that sweet spot where reducing and producing come together where it makes the right balance to try to meet the zero energy goal. So where we're headed is the multifamily housing has installed, or will have installed about four megawatts of solar panels, and this is done with a purchase agreement between West Village community partners and Sun Power. A lot of that is already installed and the last of it will go up with the final multifamily which is under construction right now.
For single-family homes, we're still trying to fit together and model what is the right and the best combination for single-family. We're trying to figure out whether we can do it all on the rooftop, or whether we need to look maybe at a community piece as well. And figure out how you do that and get around. The regulatory challenges are going to be interesting. And then we're also looking to kind of add a new layer on top of that, and that is whether or not, how we prepare for high penetration of plug-in electric vehicles. How that affects our attempt to be zero net energy.
So just a quick look here at the neighborhood. About a year ago you can see the PV panels on the rooftops here. But what we've also done, it a little bit – if we tried to do it building by building it would have been very difficult, but we also were able to do it because we're doing the whole neighborhood, we have these canopies over our parking lots. We aggregated the parking all together. We used it as a buffer to make a better environment, because there's a freeway – you can see it in the upper right-hand corner. This give a little buffer to the neighborhood.
This is a little bit different than a typical apartment complex might be, because normally the parking surrounds the buildings and tries to get as close to the buildings as possible. By aggregating them we did two things. We gave ourselves more space to put in canopies, and we also removed the shadow of the building as an effect that limits you know, your effectiveness of your PV.
Our campus biodigester, this is the DOE grant, the CRED grant. We're working on that right now. We're looking at taking the twenty-five to fifty tons a day away from West Village, the campus and the surrounding neighborhood, and for us that's largely food waste, animal waste, and bedding. From that we're going to produce biogas. We're going to build this near our – we have a landfill on campus. We're going to also capture our landfill gas to supplement it. And we're looking at this number, the 250 kilowatt micro-turbine or internal combustion engine. These are for a twenty-five-ton-per-day. We're looking at building a fifty-ton per day. Our partner here is a company called Clean World Partners. They've actually licensed campus technology that they're turning into a commercially viable product. The picture in the lower right is our pilot biodigester on campus where a lot of the research has been done.
And what they're doing as they're trying to turn this into commercial product is they're manufacturing all of the high value engineering and control components at a factory and all you have to do onsite is put in pads, pipes, and tanks. They have their first one up and running in Sacramento, and it was ninety days they went from a bare site to a facility that was producing biogas for energy.
We talk about our energy spend. We said no higher cost to the consumer. Typically when you have an energy bill, you're paying your bill, you're primarily producing, buying brown power of some kind. Then you decide whether to do an energy efficiency measure on your home, whether it's a retrofit or a new home, with the goal of spending less energy afterwards. Maybe have an initial payback period where you pay it off, and after that you save money. But you're still spending less money. That's usually the goal of the energy efficiency measures, but you're still buying predominantly brown power.
What we're trying to do at West Village is here's a typical energy spend if you looked across the street in the neighborhood and saw what was typical. What we're saying is we spend all this money on energy efficiency measures. Our goal is not to make your energy bill less. Our goal is to make your bill the same, so no higher cost to the consumer. But we want that energy spend to be spent on different things. One is green energy, and the other is to pay for the energy efficiency measures.
We're still figuring out how to capture the payback for the energy efficiency, but we've talked about maybe some on-bill. That may not be possible, but everybody in the neighborhood will belong to a local association, and there may be a way to capture that through that process as well.
So just a couple of nods to our partners. These are our academic centers of excellence here on campus. They have all helped us. One of our lessons here is that we've been able to really leverage our academic expertise. And the interesting thing is the project started off as an administrative goal to build a community for our faculty staff, and students, but now we're actually spurring and creating an opportunity for our academic side of our campus to leverage this, to also do additional research. So it's a been a good synergy in both directions.
And then of course our other partners without whom this would not be possible at all. Carmel Partners and Urban Villages together are West Village community partners. They are our developers who make this possible. We've also had support from Pacific Gas and Electric in terms of helping us move this forward to figure out how to move through all of the regulatory issues. And then also of course, I mentioned grants from the Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, and the Public Utility Commission.
So with that I would be happy to answer any questions.
Excellent, Sid. Nice job. A really good set of information. Appreciate your presenting that today. And right on time, too.
So I'll dive into a few questions from the audience. One coming from the audience is what happens to the remaining solid waste after the biodigester is done with it?
The Clean World Partners is looking at a couple of different technologies, but their end goal is to have it become a commercially marketable soil supplement type of product that you might buy at a place like Home Depot or some other kind of outlet like that.
So what they're looking at is their income streams are the purchase of electricity, which we'll be paying for. The tipping fees will be paying them instead of paying the tipping fees that we would normally take to the local landfill, now that ours is closed. They'll be trying to take the liquid waste and make that into a marketable fertilizer, and then they'll be taking the solids and also looking into turning those into a soil supplement type product.
Great. We have another question from the audience asking a little bit more about the details of the zero energy calculation. And I had kind of a related question about how much – what's the contribution of energy efficiency versus the renewable generation to your net zero energy?
I think if you look at the numbers I had up there, already with the Title 24 building code in California there's already a lot of energy efficiency built in there. But then on top of that, we're thinking that we're going to get about a 50% reduction below that. So starting with an already high bar it's going to turn out to be I guess kind of a real rough way, about 50/50.
Good. Thank you. Another question from the audience. I thought this was a great question. The question was, were there any technologies or products that you evaluated that you were not able to include in the project that you would have liked to have? And what was the tradeoff there?
I don't believe there were any that I can think of right now. I think the interesting outcome was that some of the things you think might have been no-brainers to be included, like a whole-house fan. Turned out when you, you know, are already building a building that is already very energy efficient, already designed to be able to take care of the cooling breezes, that the benefit from something at that point, when you try to add that to a building that's already built that way, it just didn't cancel out. So there were some technologies. I wouldn't say there were any that we thought we would like to that we couldn't afford. At this point looks like we'll be able to meet the goals the way it looks. But there were some that turned out when you had this overall comprehensive goal from the start, maybe didn't fit in the way that you would expect it.
And an example of this is normally we have all the doors of our apartments facing small courtyards, so we create these little neighborhoods within the bigger neighborhood. And a lot of apartments are typically built with doors going in different directions off all sides of the building. We did not do that. And that means apartments are built back-to-back, and they share a common wall. Ours are single loaded basically on that courtyard, and these you have a window onto the courtyard and you have a window out the back. So you can open both sides of your apartment and let the breeze go through. Little things like that that really kind of are surprising, but then added up to be important.
Great. We've got one more question – we've got time for one more question, and then we'll have time to come back for more questions from the audience at the very end of the webinar today. So a quick question about the design process, and whether there was community participation design charrettes, and whether there was student participation in the design process.
In the early concept part of the process when we were going forward with the idea of building a neighborhood, I think we had oh, I don't know how many workshops where we had people, it wasn't just the neighborhood, it was also our long range development plan for the campus. But certainly we had campus-focused meetings. We had community meetings for outside the campus. And we had some specifically for students to participate in. And what made those different was the time of day, and we offered pizza as a good way to get students to show up.
Once we got into the place where we're actually designing the particular buildings, at that point that became the responsibility of the developer partner. So they did that based on their experience as developers, and then of course, they had local charrettes and workshops, and consumer surveys, and things like that to figure out what would be marketable. So those processes continued on. Some of our campus design and planning people were involved, but I was not.
That's great, Sid. Again, thanks for the preparation you put into this presentation, and thanks for your willingness to present today.
You bet. And I look forward to any questions at the end.
Very good. Thank you. So we're going to continue moving along with our second presentation. So I'd like to introduce our next speakers. David Miyasaki and Kamanao Mills from DHHL. David is a registered architect and an associate with the Group 70 International. With more than twelve years of experience, he has successfully worked on a very diverse range of projects from planning, design, and construction administration. In addition to this wide experience with project management construction and design, Mr. Miyasaki is also certified as a LEED accredited architect, and is highly involved in the implementation of the growing future of sustainable technologies and building information management technologies.
Kamanao Mills joined the Department of Hawaiian Homelands in 2004 as a special assistant in the office of the chairman where he oversees all procurement and contracting activities. Previously Kamanao worked as a Hawaiian culture instructor at the Hawaiian Immersion School, and as a lecturer at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. Kamanao was also employed in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs at the Department of Land & Natural Resources State Historic Preservation Division Burial Program, and also in the Office of the Auditor. With that, I want to turn it over to Kamanao and David.
Thanks, Ken. My name is David Miyasaki, and I'm from Group 70, a multiple-disciplinary design firm in Hawaii, and I was the project manager for the Kaupuni project. I'm here with Kamanao Mills from the Department of Hawaiian Homelands and we're excited to share with you our experiences of designing Hawaii's first LEED platinum net zero community, which was completed in 2011.
As architects we typically aim to design homes that are comfortable and functional, but in this case our client not only challenged us to achieve net zero, but also build a community with respect to the culture as a part of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands mission. Since that is such an integral part of this project, I would like to ask Kamanao to take a few minutes to share a little bit about DHHL.
Hello, gang. This is Kamanao Mills. I can just click on this presentation and it'll go forward. I work over here at the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, and how the Department of Hawaiian Homelands first got started, I give you a little bit of background history is it actually started off with the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act by our founder, James Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, so it started off as a Federal program. And then when statehood occurred in Hawaii in 1959, the Federal government passed this responsibility on to the state government, and so the Department of Hawaiian Homelands was created. So technically we're an executive branch of state government.
And what we do is we actually are – we run a rehabilitation program for the Native Hawaiians, and basically what we do is we put Native Hawaiians onto the land, so we do that by giving out residential, agricultural, and pastoral leases to Native Hawaiians who demonstrate 50% need of Hawaiian _____ _____ or more. And we do this through a lease. It's a ninety-nine year lease, for $1 a year. Basically we have a wait list of about 30,000 Native Hawaiians waiting to get onto the land, and we have about 10,000 active leases.
When it came to creating this program called Puny, basically what we wanted to do is to create the first LEED platinum net zero community in the state of Hawaii, but because we were an executive branch of state government, we had a lot of convincing to do. So there's good things about being the executive branch of state government. You get to draw on a lot of the powers of privileges, the trust funds, but the bad part is you have to justify your position on everything. Even when it came to the green energy initiative. So basically we had three targets of people that we had to convince before we could even enact on Kapolei.
Our first group is our beneficiary population, our Native Hawaiians, the second group is staff, and the third group is policymakers. Just to lay the infrastructure of Kapolei. Another thing I should actually mention is just to give a little bit of demographic information on the state of Hawaii. My average electric bill each month is about $500 to $600. And for a single-family house in the state of Hawaii, it averages about $600,000 to $700,000. For Hawaiian Homelands, when we build homes and award them to the Native Hawaiians, it is from about $200,000 to the low $300,000. It's in that range.
So part of the Kapolei Village is we wanted to create this nebulous community, but also wanted to keep it at 80% of the HUD median income. For the state of Hawaii it's pretty high, so for a family of four 80% of the HUD median income is $82,400. So justification was really important to us because basically we have 30,000 on the wait list, and they're asking why aren't you guys going for the green energy? You should be awarding more affordable houses to Native Hawaiians. Basically it was the cost driving everything, so we wanted to include a green policy into that.
So our first group of individuals we had to convince is our own beneficiary populations, the Native Hawaiians. So how can we have them accept our green energy initiative? And the way we did this is we tied it to our culture. And basically of our cosmogonic creation chance of old. I'll go over this really quickly with you. The Hawaiians believe that there was an earth mother and a sky father. Earth mother was _____, and _____ was sky father. And they had a union and in the legends they gave birth to the Hawaiian Islands. Then they had a second union where was born a child by the name of _____, who refers to the stars in heaven, and she was a very, very beautiful daughter. So much so that sky father took a desire to her, and they laid together and from that union was born Haloah the first which was a stillborn child. So Hawaiians believe they planted that child into the ground and from that grew the first cabo plant. Then they had another union and from that union it was the first Native Hawaiian that walked these lands were born.
So what this cosmogonic creation teaches us is that we're not just stewards over these lands in Hawaii, but we actually have a familial connection to the lands. These islands are considered our older siblings. The flora and the fauna that grows on these islands are considered our older siblings. And growing up, you know, you respect your older siblings. And if you're the older sibling, your duty was to feed and take care of your younger sibling. So this holds true in our cosmogonic creation _____ where we as younger siblings are meant to respect the land. We respect the plants. And in turn, the land feeds us. Provides us shelter.
So what we did is we took this and we shared it with all of our beneficiaries throughout the state, and immediately what we did is we got the Native Hawaiian population to buy in. Yes, who better to lead this green energy initiative, who better to lead the self-sustaining initiative than the Native Hawaiian population? So we were able to convince our beneficiaries.
Then what we did is we had to convince our own staff, and how we did this is we created a set of guiding principles. So I show them before you in this slide. _____ to fill correctly was to establish a permanent land base for the benefit and use of Native Hawaiians. _____ in Hawaiian means friend, and island means land. So friends to the lands. Placing Native Hawaiians on the lands under the act, and to provide these types of homesteading opportunities for Native Hawaiians.
Then finally _____. _____ in Hawaiian is to take care of _____ land, which is basically to provide adequate amounts of supporting infrastructure for homestead land usage. So using these guiding principles we were able to work with staff in implementing the green energy initiative from a procurement, and contracting, and construction management standpoint.
Finally, we had to convince the policymakers, and how we did this, to convince the Governor, the executive branch of state government, as well as the legislature, is we had to create an energy policy, and we called it _____, which in Hawaiian means to be self-sustaining. And so what we did is we adopted five objectives, and we presented this objective before the commission, had our commission adopt it, took it to the Governor, had the Governor stamp it, and then we took it to the legislature, and got pretty much everybody's blessings and buy-in as possible.
So as part of this policy, our first objective of it is to _____, to take care of the land. We have 200,000 acres of land here in the state of Hawaii, and it's not just to build, build, build, build. But it's to, for those areas where we can preserve and protect and keep it green, we'll just keep it green.
Our second initiative is called _____, which means to help and assist the Native Hawaiians. And that is to promote alternative energy initiatives in the state of Hawaii.
Our third goal which is called _____. To build correctly, which is in our developments moving forward we try and incorporate as much of the green technologies as possible. Our fourth goal, _____ _____. To help our existing stewards.
So it's not just to build green homes, but it's also to retrofit homes that already exist with cleaner and greener technologies. And our fifth goal is _____, which means just to educate continually, and to promote education.
So for our Kapolei Village, we did the LEED platinum net zero community, but then we also have a goal to build it at an affordable price, which is at 80% of HUD median income. Basically yes, we challenged _____, we challenged group _____ to bring your ideas to us. And in this project what we did is we started with nineteen homes. And the reason for that is this was an experiment. We were going to try and push the envelope as hard as we possibly could, and basically learn from it. We knew that we would make mistakes along the way. So from the things that didn't work, we let that be, but from the things that did work, when we do our bigger developments, our 1,000 home developments, we can take the things we learned from this little community and pass it forward.
Because there's even some social issues we need to take into consideration. If there's any one slide I wanted to add on top of here now that I'm thinking about it, is I wanted to give a breakdown of the people who actually live there. Because we knew there was going to be a honeymoon period where people said yes, yes, yes, we want to go into these LEED platinum net zero homes. But when you actually get into the homes and find out the work that's involved, because a lot of people inside of these nineteen homes, because they're at 80% of HUD median income, they're like the blue collar workers or the entry level white collar workers. They're the specialists. They're the secretaries. The receptionists. The clerk typist. Basically we wanted to see if in fact that this lifestyle could, in fact, be promoted not just by the people who have the motivation, but working class citizens in the state of Hawaii.
With that, Dave, I guess I'll turn it over to you for the next series of slides.
Sounds good. Thanks. So along with the culture and community of DHHL for this project, we had an excellent team. DHHL worked with Elcon & Associates to design the site. Then along with my boss Jim Stone, we had Group 70 that came onboard to help design the homes, and finally Hunt Companies did the construction. Along the way our key partners were NREL, Hawaiian Electric Company, and the state of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, and _____ farms, which has strong cultural ties to the Hawaiian Islands region.
As Kamanao said, while they've done many, many affordable homes, this was their first entry into green projects. And at our eco _____, the DHHL chairman at the time, Mika Koenig, gave this challenge. If you don't fail at something, you weren't trying hard enough. So we aimed for the moon, and we were able to achieve almost everything that we tried for, but some of the things that we weren't able to do on this project were LED streetlamps, and a grass paved cul-de-sac fronting the community center.
The main reason we weren't able to do those is because DHHL dedicates the streets to the city, and when we proposed it to the city, they said that they weren't in a position to maintain new technologies like these.
I want to briefly orient you to the site. Kapolei Village is in _____ which is on the west side of Oahu. This is definitely the hotter, dryer side of the island. At the _____ one of the DHHL staff members that had lived in the Hawaiian Islands for years said that you definitely need A/C during certain parts of the year. We were always planning to design these homes for natural ventilation, but decided that if they were eventually going to need A/C, we didn't want them on the hottest day of the year to get fed up, go to Home Depot, buy those inefficient window units just to get through the weekend. So we decided to go with an efficient energy A/C system for the homes, and educate them about the impacts of the A/C usage on their electricity bill.
This is the site plan. North is more or less aligned with the site, and the way this job was procured, the lots were laid out on a standard subdivision layout before we got there. And that posed some problems, some design challenges for us, but we were able to work through those. The first home is a one-story three-bedroom with a living area of about 1,300 square feet, and the second home is a two-story, four-bedroom with about 1,600 square feet of living area. As you can see on the bottom, the figures, that's about the construction cost. $265,000 for the one-story, three-bedroom, and $305,000 for the two-story, four-bedroom.
One of the easiest ways to achieve a net zero home is building small, because the smaller the house, the less energy it uses. For the rest of the webinar I'll talk about some of the detailed design features that we used to achieve net zero, then I'll talk about the measurement and verification that we have been able to do for the community.
The first one is insulation. We chose to use spray foam insulation instead of fiberglass batt insulation because we wanted to prevent air leakage whenever possible. In hot climates like ours, preventing air leakage is more important than increasing the insulation thickness. The disadvantage though, of having a tighter building is that less fresh air gets into the building, and I'll discuss our solutions to that when I talk about our A/C system.
We also selected Energy Star lights and appliances, and Solatubes in the hallways and bathrooms to bring the electricity consumption down as much as we could.
We designed the homes for natural ventilation with large cross-ventilated windows, but the PV layout required a gabled roof which led us to have exposed windows on the long side of the building. We designed awnings which are sized to block the direct sun during the hottest part of the year, while the high performance, low E-glazing reflects a lot of the solar heat during the rest of the year.
So for the A/C system, we originally designed the homes with a split system to take advantage of the zoning capabilities of cooling only the room that the occupants were in. But during construction, our contractor Hunt proposed a different system. They proposed a more efficient, 14.5 SEER central A/C system, and after we reviewed it, we decided to accept it. It provided additional energy savings, and the ability to introduce fresh dry air which we needed because of our goal for a tight building. We did lose zone capabilities, but decided that the efficiency and fresh air were worth it.
After doing our best to save energy through our many efficiency measures, we worked with NREL to size the PV systems to achieve our target of a net zero community. We estimated that there could be up to eight people in a single household, so we sized the systems to be 6.3 kilowatts, which is big for this size house. Another note is the solar hot water systems are required for all new residential homes, and so each home has that also.
This slide is a good example of the challenges that we faced of having one house design on many different orientations. We had to design the roofs to accommodate enough PV panels on either side. We designed both homes with one manufacturer's panels, but through the state procurement system, ended up with another manufacturer's panels. Those modules were larger in size, and it forced us to adjust our design and put panels on the north side of some home. NREL calculations said that the north-facing panels would be 17% less efficient, but Bonterra Solar, our PV installer, did a study for the entire system, and submitted data that the system would perform better than the system we specified in our contract documents, even with the north-facing panels.
NREL concurred with their calculations, but Bonterra committed to adding another panel if the system did not generate the required amount of energy. Right now we're analyzing the data to see if the system is performing as expected.
BIOPT. BIOPT stands for building energy optimization, which NREL developed for use in analyzing cost optimal efficiency packages based on numerous materials that go into the building. This is an actual screenshot of the program that we used. On the left we can see we've given ourselves the choice of R11, R13, and R11 plus 1" foam to simulate. And the software takes into account all of the different features and plots it on the graph as shown at the bottom.
The vertical measurement is the green material cost plus utility savings, and the horizontal measurement is the percent of energy savings. As you can see, you get the most bang for the buck at about 33% energy savings where you'll have the lowest mortgage plus utilities. But for our goal, we're at the far right of the graph which is net zero.
Simulations can only take you so far, but with Kaupuni being a pilot project, we were allowed to _____ track the energy usage of the entire community to see if we really achieved net zero. And as you can see, we basically have achieved net zero. Here are the results of the tracking data. Hawaiian Electric Company has created a webpage that highlights the green features and energy usage of the entire community. That's at Kaupuni.net.
You can see that the energy profile follows the amount of power generated from the sun with September, October, and November being the worst energy consuming months. Probably due to the heat and humidity, and by contrast, February, March and April are the best months.
When they first moved into the homes, we educated the homeowners on the green features and how energy consumption would vary based on their usage. We also provided them with the energy detective devices which gave each home a handheld device that tells them how much energy they're using at any time.
On the graph on the left, the 1% above net zero, which is the green, reflects the occupant's choices, and some of the households are larger, and some of them are okay with paying a small electricity bill, but as a community overall, they're doing pretty well on the net zero goal.
This is my favorite slide because it's a sneak preview of the report that NREL is going to give, which goes into detail of the home energy analysis, which goes into way more detail than I've ever seen before. This is one of the draft figures from the report that Paul Norton, Ken Kelly, and _____ _____ are putting together, and that report should be done by late 2012.
_____ _____ used the energy detective whole house energy loggers, branch circuit monitoring for two homes. Hobo temperature and humidity loggers, and a current logger connected to the A/C system. With all of this they're writing a report that will analyze energy performance, typical A/C set points with indoor thermal comfort, and end use energy consumption that shows a percentage of A/C, lighting, washer and dryer usage.
This draft slide here shows the ratio of PV production to total consumption The conclusion that I draw from this graph are that the overall community is doing well with the majority of households living at the near zero energy level, and a few net energy producers, and a few net energy consumers that basically offset each other out.
So there's some lessons learned that we have taken away from this project and we hope they prove useful to you as well. The first is education. Educating clients, educating homeowners. And educating clients on the life cycle costs involved in achieving net zero and that sometimes there is an initial cost increase which is going down, but in the life cycle cost it evens out and becomes worth it – or certain things become worth it.
Then educating homeowners on how subtle changes in their behavior can affect their energy usage. Like changing your set point of your A/C from seventy-four to seventy-six, or from seventy-six to seventy-eight. Just a little bit higher may affect your comfort a little, but it really pays dividends for energy usage.
The second is the traditional design team has expanded. Especially with cutting edge projects like ours, we took advantage of a wider team to consult on different things. The picture on the right is a tilapia _____ _____ farm that _____ farms helped develop in support for each household. And we talked with NREL early and often to optimize the net zero house.
The third lesson is use simulation to validate intuition. We researched as many real world examples as we could, but it'll also be helpful to use tools like BIOPT, eco tech and other tools to make early design changes for a better product.
Finally, optimize your exterior envelope. Heating and cooling is such a large energy consumer that it will definitely pay to optimize it in whatever climate you're in.
With that, I want to thank NREL for inviting us to share a little bit about our experiences, and I want to thank DHHL for having us in on a groundbreaking project. For links to the web pages and software that I mentioned as well as a link to the NREL report when it comes out, you can go to the webpage link on the bottom right. And with that, I'll hand it back off to Kamanao.
Thank you very much, folks. I think at this point we'd be happy to answer any types of questions you folks might have.
Great. Thanks, David and Kamanao. Really nice information, and I've got to say that I've been fortunate to have been able to visit the Village and what's really exciting and fun about it is the community out there. Especially the children who are a part of this community. And that kind of leads to one of the questions I had. How were the homeowners involved throughout the process, including the you know, the selection of the homeowners, but also their engagement in the design process, and then some of the follow-up education with the homeowners.
Well, I'll take the first part of that. During the design process, the homeowners were selected quite late, and so we weren't able to engage with the homeowners that would be moving in here. But what we were able to do was a lot of the DHHL staff who are also beneficiaries to the DHHL programs. And so we worked with them, and especially the ones who lived in Hawaiian Islands on what features and what the climate was really like out there.
Yeah, and even we, our Department of Hawaiian Homelands, we did hold a series of meetings of these individuals and basically began to promote the education at a really, really early stage. And one really interesting thing that happened was that even in the _____ before Kaupuni even existed yet, there's already a sense of community happening among these participants. So much so that actually Kaupuni was only meant for eighteen units. And what had happened is we selected nineteen families to participate thinking that it could have been the possibility of one of the families dropping out. Well, the community got so close that when the final eighteenth unit was awarded, the nineteenth family, they were just heartbroken. We thought they would actually have a property to move into. So what we did is went back with Group 70 and the contractors, and where the community center is, is we lopped off a section of that parcel to include the nineteenth home for that family.
Now what that helped to do is just to bring the community together. And you know, in the development of Kaupuni, I talked earlier about the honeymoon phase, which is once everybody got into the homes, everybody was so happy. Then you know, by the second, third months we realized that everything that we had dreamed and inspired towards were not all coming true.
So for instance, one of the things that we're still working on today is next to the community center we were planning on aquaponics, and hydroponics center, a community garden. Well, that hasn't taken to fruition just yet. It existed great as a concept, but when people actually got into the homes and they have to go to their nine-to-five jobs, and basically the days add up where would you work on the community garden, or would you have to report to your nine-to-five job every day? Well, you have to go to work. So right now I believe that the community garden area next to the community center has not developed just yet, but we're still working on that.
Thanks, Kamanao. There were a number of questions about the aquaponics units. You know, I know that each home has the individual, the small _____ farming and the fish. Could you speak a little bit more about the aquaponics?
Sure. It first developed into a concept with the department of – actually to be more, have some self-sustainability, not just for energy, but also for food consumption. Especially when it relates to the _____ creation in terms of _____ to be self-sustaining. So we had this idea that we wanted to do the aquaponics with the tilapia fish feeding up to a planter where they could grow their foods, _____ and such. But we found that it was not cool of us to just impose this on people.
So what the Department of Hawaiian Homelands did is we have a courtyard here, and so before we actually put it onto them, what we did is we put it on us first. So we built our own aquaponics system here at the department. We grew the tilapia in vats of water. We planted lettuce, and we the staff were operating it. And actually when it came time to, toward the end of the project, we had an all-staff meeting. Basically we ate all the tilapia and we ate all the lettuce, and that way it just gives more proof to our beneficiaries that this project could actually be done.
And an interesting twist to this is when people saw what we were doing, the hydroponics idea went beyond Kaupuni. We have like a bunch of our residents coming to visit, learning and starting to own a hydroponic system. We even had some PV crews come down to go over what we were doing, and actually pass this knowledge on to private citizens as well.
It's hard work. We made a lot of mistakes. We had a vat of dead tilapia one time because we – there's a balance between growing the crops and having the fish sustained as well. I hope that answered your question.
Absolutely. Thank you. We had a number of questions related to the PV system. There were some questions about how the actual performance of the PV systems installed compared to the modeled performance. And you know, there was the discussion about the NREL model, and the installer recommendation. Can you comment on the PV performance versus the modeling result?
So we're still looking at that right now, but I've seen – I have the draft NREL report in front of me, and it goes into detail about the performance of each of the homes. So unfortunately I can't give you a good answer for that yet, but we're working with _____ to study the data to see whether they're actually performing. But we know that certain houses are performing less than other houses. So along with the NREL report, I think we'll have a lot of good information to glean whether the study, the calculations were correct.
Great. Thank you. So what we'd like to do now is we'd like to bring Sid, if you're still on the line.
I'm still here.
We'd like to open up the conversation more broadly. And I'll start that questioning off by asking a question about performance modeling, and how are we monitoring and verifying the performance on both communities? And then how are we getting the lessons learned from the actual performance versus the models and design performance out to other users? Sid, you want to go first? Because we heard some of that from Kaupuni.
Sure. We're still pretty early in the process, so we don't have anything yet to report except that we know that – well, the first apartments opened a year ago September, a year ago August. The PV systems didn't become operational until January or February, and there was a lot more PV installed initially than there was demand for, and of course, in the summer you're producing a lot more than you need, and our goal is net zero on an annual basis.
And then they started their instructional classes for the students that are living there in the spring, and then they'll be renewing them this fall as new students move in. So we're really not yet – we're still very early in the process, and eventually we'll have information that'll be available, but we're really not there yet.
And then a related question, David and Kamanao, on how occupant behavior has impacted actual achievement of net zero. Has there been lessons learned about occupant behavior and maybe follow-up education that's been provided to occupants to improve performance?
I think that has been the absolute key to having a net zero community is occupant behavior. You can have 100 PV panels on the roof, but if the occupant of the household has three extra refrigerators in the garage, who runs their A/C at 50° all day long, then basically net zero is going to be really, really hard to achieve. So even in some of these projects in dealing with them. I remember we were giving a presentation to an _____ community in Kaupuni, and one of the ladies walked up to me from the residence, and said I want to show you my electricity bill. She said, I don't know what's going on. They had charged me like $1,500 for my electricity bill. And we found that there was a mistake. There was actually a light pole or something there. There was something happening at the Hawaiian Electric Company where they'd added it onto that person's bill. But actually that person is one of the low end consumers on _____ there. Basically it's just the lifestyle they have chosen. They signed up for Kaupuni. They agreed with all the education. They go through with it, but their lifestyle just, when it comes down to conserving energy or living your family culture, sometimes the family culture takes over at that point.
But yeah, it's always a matter of educate, educate, educate, and even after the fact, after they've already moved in, it's just to keep that follow-up and maintenance going.
That's one of the nice things about having the community center, is you can have those educational events there. I think we have time just for one last question, and I'd like to get feedback from both communities. The question is related to, thinking beyond net zero energy, and some of the other aspects including water management, and wastewater management, anything you did in those areas to manage the water consumption, and waste? We'll start with Sid.
Sure. From water use, all of the homes and apartments are you know, designed with low flow toilets, and the right kind of faucets, and all of those sorts of things. Those are all standard things that were built in. From a storm water perspective, I mentioned that we're trying to hold as much water on the site as we can to let it percolate back into the groundwater table. So only when we have really an excess of 100-year storm event do we expect any water to leave the site.
And then when water does leave the site, we're taking it down to an old stream channel that used to have cattle in it that were one of our research herds. And it was a very degraded system, and it turned out that if we wanted to go straight to our storm water, we had to put the pipes quite deep. If we put them shallow and got the cattle out of there and built them new facilities, the difference in price allowed us to build those facilities for less than the cost of the deep construction. So now we have a nice restored seasonal stream channel that we're putting our _____ back into. And we got some habitat value out of the process at the same time.
David or Kamanao, do you have any comments about the features related to wastewater and water consumption?
So like Sid, we also used low flow toilets, and water efficient fixtures. We had a debate whether we should go with the dual flush and the single flush, but we ended up just going with the efficient single flush. Because the project was designed from a site standpoint before we came on, some of the suggestions we had about a central system weren't able to – we weren't able to do them. And we actually even brought in Lauren Roth, who's part of Roth Ecological Design, and she has a system that she has done in certain places like _____ that treats the wastewater, and we looked at trying to do it for the community center and using that gray water to feed the farms, but it just never worked out. So we looked at it, but besides just the standard low flow and water efficient fixtures, we kept everything else standard.
We installed the pervious concrete driveways.
Yeah, and so for slate water, we did do pervious concrete driveways. Which a quick story about that is when they first installed it, we had to go with the higher one because of the higher car weight ratings. They came out so rough that we were saying that children would get so hurt if they ran and fell on this. So we actually worked with the contractor, and they ground down every single driveway to make it smooth and at least safe for kids to run on.
Well, we're about out of time, and I wanted to just send out my mahalo to all the participants today. Both the participants in preparing the information and presenting. It was a great set of information. Also, to those who called in and contributed questions, and attended today's webinar, thank you very much.
A number of you asked if the slides will be made available. Within seven to ten days we'll be sending out a link with information which you can access the slides. We'll also provide transcript materials.
We're going to be looking at the questions that we didn't have time to answer. There's a lot of questions. We're going to be taking a look at those and we'll try to respond to as many of those questions individually as possible. And then Courtney is pointing out to me and reminding me that there's a survey. Can you mention how they can access that survey?
Yes. When you logout of the webinar, there will be a survey that pops up. So if you guys could please fill that out, that would be much appreciated. And we do hope that you're able to join us for the next COM RE webinar which will focus on how district energy system in St. Paul, Minnesota and _____ state university are using renewal energy. With that, we'd like to thank you very much.
And mahalo to everyone for participating.
[End of Audio]