Net Zero Now

Lost in the discussion of the new Sherwood Elementary School’s construction as a “net zero ready” building has been that the catalyst for this move was MLA Ole Hammarlund’s successful Net Zero Now motion in the Legislative Assembly:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly urge government to with immediate effect design, build and fund only buildings the Net Zero or beyond building standards.

The original tender call for the new school went out in the summer of 2019; Ole’s motion passed in November 2019, prompting a change of plans, and a re-issue of the tender this month, closing in late October.

In the original tender there was a brief mention under the heading “Energy Efficiency”:

It is the intent of this project to meet or exceed the National Energy code for Buildings 2011.

In the revised tender this is significantly expanded:

The PEI Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy (TIE) is working closely with both efficiencyPEI and the PEI Climate Change Secretariat to address mandated requirements of the current PEI Energy Strategy, as well as the Climate Change Action Plan for PEI, 2018-2023, to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and improve energy efficiency for all government building construction projects. To achieve these goals, building construction must begin to meet far more stringent energy use requirements. Design approaches will include enhancements to building controls, envelopes and durability; the integration of the most efficient energy sources — with the lowest overall impact on the province’s carbon emissions footprint — as practical; effective building siting, the potential for geothermal systems, and for on-site energy production.

It is therefore TIE’s intention to build a fully electric building to minimize greenhouse gases which are generated due to the operation of this building. TIE is also requiring enhanced building efficiency. The project is intended to be a ‘Net Zero’ building to be designed to minimize annual energy consumption. By targeting a 50% reduction in energy usage over the NECB 2017, and having a maximum targeted Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 110 kWh/sq.m, this highly energy-efficient building will have the capability of having on site or on-grid clean energy used by this building to offset any GHG from its operations. 

TIE is also interested in reviewing the financial analysis for a roof mounted installation of a new 100 kW Photo Voltaic (PV) array for this building. The building roof design should be optimized to maximize the output of the PV array.

The building design is to be remodeled utilizing anticipated real world schedules, and actual design elements to develop a financial review of the various energy efficiency options. The designer will work with TIE and the End User Group to develop an anticipated real world operational schedule for this model.

The design team is to work with TIE and the End User to assess building improvements and operational requirements, which are beyond the minimum NECB standards, to ensure the energy reduction options as a whole project (architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical enhancements and PV) has a simple payback target of fifteen (15) years or less.

The individual energy saving options to get to an EUI of 110 kWh/sq.m. are to be costed with net present value considerations included for review by TIE before proceeding to the design phase.
Additional Comments:

(a) TIE does not want the Design Team exploring “high capital cost” options that would have lengthy paybacks when considered through financial analysis.
(b) Appendix ‘B’ outlines a number of building related requirements that have been identified by the end user that will need to be vetted and confirmed during the schematic design process.
(c) The cost required for reinforcing the roof for PV installation should be included during the financial analysis review.

Government sees this project as a flagship initiative that will lead to other projects across the province also decreasing their GHG emissions.

Government, as well as the school board’s, goal is to create a comfortable learning environment and to provide an exemplary building for students that could also be used as a learning tool that can be incorporated as part of the curriculum of the school.

While Ole’s motion was non-binding, it obviously set wheels in motion, and government deserves credit to stopping the new school in its tracks, reconsidering, and coming up with a new net-zero building plan.

Minority parliament for the win!