UNL'S NET ZERO GREEN BUILDING CONFERENCE ADVANCES NEBRASKA'S "GREEN COLLAR" FUTURE
Connections among 150 business leaders, government and utility representatives, and university faculty powered a Net-Zero Energy, High-Performance Green Buildings Collaborative Workshop in Omaha on August 6.
The result could bring a new level of energy efficient building research and development for Nebraska’s prominent architecture, engineering and construction community.
Coordinated by the UNL Office of Research with the UNL College of Engineering, the event included keynote speakers Ed Pollock, who leads residential programs with the Office of Building Technologies in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Greg Stark, who heads the National Renewable Energy Lab’s (NREL) Advanced Commercial Building Research efforts. Breakout and panel sessions featured faculty expertise from The Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, located at Omaha’s Peter Kiewit Institute and part of Nebraska Engineering.
Neil Moseman, director of Nebraska Energy Office also addressed the group, and several panels and breakout sessions raised opportunities to gain funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the “stimulus package” or “recovery act.”
In a video welcome, UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman praised the wide range of focused participation. Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Prem Paul challenged the attendees to develop ideas for action that would benefit the state and the nation: by producing “green collar” jobs, and meeting the world’s need for new technologies with alternate energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal applications.
According to the DOE Web site, “net-zero energy building is a residential or commercial building with greatly reduced needs for energy through efficiency gains (60% to 70% less than conventional practice), with the balance of energy needs supplied by renewable technologies.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has cited that buildings are responsible for almost half of the U.S. energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions annually (globally the percentage is even higher).