SOM’s approach to net zero design begins with the fundamentals: the building’s shape
(Image © SOM)

SOM’s net zero New York school aims for “ultimate sustainability”

By James Holloway

November 8, 2012

Net zero: put together, they’re two of the buzzwords of contemporary building design. Sometimes the phrasing’s a little different. ZNE, or zero net energy, is one variation; zero-energy building is another. They’re all the same thing, though: buildings designed to offset their energy consumption over the course of a year, every year. Work has commenced on one such project, a 444-student primary school on Staten Island, New York, designed by architects at SOM and engineers at AKF.

One imagines that, to be certain that a building will offset its energy use, its designers must aim for the black: to generate more energy than is actually required to offset that which is used turning lights on, powering computers and keeping classrooms warm etc. etc. That being the case, what’s the difference between a net zero building and an “energy plus” (or net zero-plus) building?

Read more: SOM's net zero New York school aims for "ultimate sustainability".

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