THE SOURCE - Spring 2016 - (Page 12)

feature Natural Gas Direct-Use in Net Zero Energy Buildings T By Neil Leslie, Larry Brand, and Sue Kristjansson he net zero energy buildings concept is something APGA members have identified as a potential threat. In 2015, APGA joined other organizations in Chicago to discuss net zero energy buildings and how the gas industry should respond. As a result of this meeting, APGA and the American Gas Association (AGA) are co-chairing a joint Net Zero Energy Buildings workgroup. This year's Gas Policy Conference (GPC) will include a panel discussion on how utilities are responding to net zero energy building programs. For more information on the GPC, see page 9. Federal and state regulations and code activities, along with regulated energy efficiency programs and voluntary initiatives, are increasingly focused on driving high-performance buildings into the marketplace, replacing less-efficient construction over time with more sustainable building practices. The long-term strategic goal of these initiatives is to create technologies and design approaches that enable net zero energy buildings at affordable, incremental first-cost as quickly as possible. For instance, California's Title 24 residential energy codes for new construction are moving toward supporting the state's aspirational goal of net zero energy homes by 2020. Strategy documents and stakeholder position statements to date indicate a high bias toward all-electric construction as the best approach to achieving net zero energy buildings. To reverse the trend toward all-electric designs in net zero energy buildings, it is critical that the natural gas industry have a significant role in setting national and regional policy as well as revising energy conservation standards. There are several metrics, methodologies and values that can be used to assess net zero energy buildings. The approach taken can have a significant influence on energy choices, consumer costs, and environmental impacts. For example, net zero energy buildings can be all-electric, including space conditioning, water heating, cooking, and other appliances and plug loads. The calculation of the annual site electric usage to be offset by a photovoltaic (PV) system is 12 THE SOURCE | THE vOiCE and CHOiCE Of pUbliC gaS straightforward for all-electric buildings, and can be used with energy cost or source energy as well, as long as the comparison is made with other allelectric building designs. However, where natural gas is available, many building owners prefer gas technology options for loads such as heating, water heating, cooking, and clothes drying based on superior performance and operating cost advantages compared to electric technology options. In mixed-fuel buildings, PV can be used to offset both electricity and gas energy usage. In these cases, choosing zero source energy or zero energy cost instead of zero site energy as the basis for sizing the PV system becomes a critical factor for policies and decision making. PV capacities (installed kW) necessary to achieve net zero energy for mixed-fuel buildings will typically be smaller than an equivalent all-electric design option if the definition of net zero energy is based on source energy or cost. However, PV systems will be larger in mixed fuel buildings than the all-electric design options if the definition of net zero energy is based on site energy. Consumer costs, system sizing, policy issues, and environmental impacts are important considerations for determining appropriate strategies for net zero energy buildings. The definition of net zero energy is critical for equitable consideration of the role of the direct-use of natural gas in these buildings. High-performance buildings are an acknowledged pre-requisite

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Spring 2016

First Person
APGA Events
A Friendly Business Partnership of Two of the Nation’s Largest Utilities Can Benefit the Natural Gas Industry
Natural Gas Direct-Use in Net Zero Energy Buildings
Henry Hub and Changing Liquidity in the North American Gas Market
Cold Season Planning Preparedness: From Supply to Delivery
Natural Gas Power Plant Opportunities
Legislative Outlook
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
Advertisers’ Index/
At Last

THE SOURCE - Spring 2016