Reasons to Love Zero

Path to Net Zero incentives and resources

Energy Trust of Oregon supports projects that pursue net-zero energy use, because when it comes to efficiency, there’s no greater target. Net-zero buildings have the potential to create as much energy as they consume over the course of each year. They’re the result of imagining, designing and building in a completely new way.

Achieving net zero is a significant accomplishment. That’s why we created Path to Net Zero, a package of cash incentives and technical assistance to help building owners and project teams reach for the highest energy-efficiency standards and discover the countless reasons to love “zero.”

Architecture 2030 and Path to Net Zero

Energy Trust’s Path to Net Zero aligns with the objectives set forth in the Architecture 2030 Challenge. The 2030 Challenge aims to achieve net-zero energy in all new buildings, developments and major renovations by 2030, with interim energy-reduction targets for 2015, 2020 and 2025.

Path to Net Zero begins with Architecture 2030’s energy-reduction standard for 2015, which is equivalent to achieving approximately 40 percent savings over Oregon code for most building types.

Energy Use Intensity Targeting and Planning

To design and construct a Path to Net Zero building, project teams must establish a clear, measurable energy-efficiency target and then define a plan of approach. Energy Trust has made this goal-setting process as simple as possible by focusing on two key areas: the Energy Use Intensity, EUI, of the building and initial design strategies for fundamental building systems.

Energy Use Intensity

EUI is a simple measure of a building’s energy use, expressed as the energy use per square foot per year in British thermal units, kBtu. For Path to Net Zero, Energy Trust asks projects to set a minimum EUI target that meets the 2030 Challenge milestone for 2015.

* The numbers shown represent net EUIs, which take renewable power generation into account. They have been taken from the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, CBECS, using averages for the Western region. They may vary from tables published by Architecture 2030 or other organizations that use national averages.

System Design Strategies

Once you have selected your EUI target, you’ll then need a plan for achieving it. To ensure you remain on the Path to Net Zero and meet your energy reduction goals, Energy Trust asks that you identify potential design strategies for each major building system as early as possible, including: HVAC, hot water, lighting, process loads and renewables.

We have created the EUI Goal-Setting and Planning Worksheet to facilitate this process. Use this worksheet to document your target EUI and initial design approach for each building system. As you move through design and construction, your team can refer back to this worksheet to ensure your project stays on target.

Download Worksheet »

Energy Trust’s Path to Net Zero package supports the entire design and construction process, from project kick-off through completion and occupancy. Cash incentives and resources include:

Early design assistance

  • Project kick-off meeting: A New Buildings outreach manager will meet with the project team to establish an initial Energy Use Intensity, EUI, target and energy-efficient design strategies.
  • Early design assistance: Up to $10,000 to offset the cost of a design charrette to refine target and goals using EUI targeting and shoebox modeling.
  • Construction document review: Energy Trust will review construction documents to ensure they align with the target and strategies set during kick-off and planning.

Technical assistance

Energy Trust will pay 75 percent of the cost of energy studies, up to $50,000. Studies may include, but are not limited to:

  • Early design shoebox modeling
  • Computational fluid dynamics, CFD, analysis
  • Daylighting studies
  • Energy modeling
  • Commissioning design review

Solar ready

If you plan to install solar to achieve your EUI target, Energy Trust offers cash incentives and technical assistance to help prepare and plan for solar installation. Support is provided at three distinct stages, with solar design allies available to guide you through the process:

  • Solar assessment: Technical support and up to $2,000 to determine the solar potential of your building.
  • Solar ready design: Technical guidance and up to $5,000 to prepare solar plans and specifications for use during the bidding process.
  • Solar ready construction: Technical assistance and up to $15,000 to help you build to solar ready standards.

Installation incentives

  • Modeled savings: $0.40 per kWh, $1.20 per therm
  • Standard and/or special measure incentives
  • Market solutions “very best” level

Click for further detail on installation incentives.

Completion and post-occupancy

  • Functional testing (required): $0.15/sq. ft., up to $40,000
  • Energy metering: 50 percent of the cost of energy metering, up to $40,000

Net-zero certification

Energy Trust covers 50 percent of the cost of net-zero certification from the International Living Future Institute, ILFI, including the application fee.

To be eligible to participate in Path to Net Zero, projects must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Meet the minimum standards of the Architecture 2030 Challenge.
  • Be served by Portland General Electric or Pacific Power to receive cash incentives for electric measures and NW Natural or Cascade Natural Gas to receive cash incentives for gas measures.
  • Pay the public purpose charge; check your bill or contact Energy Trust if you have questions.
  • Be on a site located in Oregon.
  • Be new construction, a major renovation or an addition to an existing structure.
  • Be a commercial, industrial, multifamily or institutional building.

Incentives are not intended to influence consumer decisions on fuel sources.