Monday, October 24, 2016

Contact: Mike Journee
208-384-4402 |

City of Boise opens Idaho's First Commercial Zero Net Energy Building

The City of Boise today celebrated the grand opening of Idaho’s first commercial zero net energy building.

The super-efficient and innovative building offsets the small amount of energy used by generating renewable energy, resulting in a net energy use of zero, and saving the city nearly $24,000 in annual energy costs.

Boise Mayor David Bieter was joined by City Council President Pro Tem Lauren McLean as keynote speakers at the event.   

“This building is yet another example of how the City of Boise goes the extra mile to set new standards for innovation,” said Mayor Bieter. “I couldn’t be more proud of how this project reflects our larger effort to be sustainable in all aspects of our work on behalf of the residents of Boise.”

The city began implementing energy efficient projects and installing energy reduction measures over 10 years ago, and has recently set a goal of designing new city buildings to meet zero net energy and reducing energy use in existing city buildings by 50 percent by 2030.  Toward this goal, the city has built several LEED certified buildings such as the Library! at Ustick, and Library! at Bown Crossing (under construction), Fire Stations #8 and #15, and the Boise WaterShed Environmental Education Center.

“This net-zero building is proof of Boise’s commitment to sustainability and demonstrates we’re serious about meeting or exceeding our city’s energy reduction goals,” said Council President Pro Tem McLean. “I am proud that Boise has its first commercial zero net energy building and look forward to exploring other ways for Boise to be innovative when it comes to reducing our energy use.”

The state-of-the-art building will serve as a pilot for evaluating the energy footprint of future city buildings.  To achieve a zero net energy status, the building incorporates several impressive features including ground-source geothermal heating and cooling, water efficient landscaping, LED lights with motion and occupancy sensors, super-efficient enveloped insulation, and an EcoScreen dashboard, which allows employees to track building operation stats and energy use in real time. The building utilizes regionally-sourced and recycled building materials, as well as 198 solar panels mounted on the roof to offset the small amount of energy used. Those solar panels have a peak power production of 56 kilowatts.

While the zero net energy building is the most recent example of the City of Boise’s commitment to sustainability, it has been pursuing pro-active energy saving measures across all of its operations, including expansion of the nation’s largest direct-use geothermal energy district in and around downtown Boise. That district recently incorporated Boise State University, Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP), the Central Addition LIV District, and the new Simplot corporate headquarters. Other energy reduction strategies have included converting 400 streetlights per year to LED and adding a total of six electric or hybrid electric vehicles to the city fleet by the end of 2016. 

AerialViewofFarmThe new zero net energy building will act as the hub for the city’s 4225-acre 20-Mile South biosolids application site (Photo right). The application site receives biosolids from Boise’s two main wastewater treatment plants which are applied to fields for growing forage crops.

More information on the new zero net energy building can be found on the city’s LIV website