In general, the concept is very simple. Net-zero status requires that a building produces as much energy as it consumes. In order to be certified, the building must maintain net-zero status for one year.

In practice, the concept really works. DPR Construction built a new net-zero facility for their employees in San Francisco. In their original building, their electric bill averaged $3,500 a month. In their new net-zero facility, the first month’s electric bill was $19 and $22 the second.

So how does all of this happen? Working closely with your architect and GC is key. Site selection and orientation are extremely important. It is important for the building to naturally optimize on solar gain in the winter and reject it in the summer. Strategically orienting the building so that it is positioned for optimal lighting can help to reduce electric and heating bills.

The next step is to ensure that the building envelope is well-insulated and can retain treated air. There are various MEP systems for energy efficient ways of heating and cooling a building which should be explored. It’s important to make all members of the project team aware of the net-zero goals. In order to achieve net-zero, new, unfamiliar equipment will likely be installed. Users have to know what the goal is and get the required training to make the project successful.

Watchdog is an independent owner's representative and project management firm that provides customized and consultative real estate services. With oversight of the budget and schedule, Watchdog participates in every step of the project ensuring quality is met and your interests are being represented.


Owner’s Representation, Master Planning and Programing, Site Selection/Analysis, Budget/Schedule Administration, Project Coordination, Work Letter Analysis, Closeout Management, Vendor Procurement, Contract Negotiations/Admin, Capital Budget Planning, Process Management, Construction Admin, Multi-site Rollout Management