Colorado Zero Energy District project shows how businesses can reach zero-energy standard

An ambitious experiment in Fort Collins, Colo., is supporting development of the nation’s first major urban zero-energy district. The Zero Energy District (ZED) project composed of five businesses was able to cut its peak-load energy demand more than 20% over four weeks. The long-term goal of a ZED is for power users to produce as much energy in a year as they collectively need to draw from the grid. A key element of a ZED entails having the utility signal the customer to cut back usage—such as intermittently shutting down air conditioning or heating of certain spaces—when the ZED’s overall demand approaches peak levels. The participants installed smart energy meters and other control mechanisms, giving access to data that monitored electricity usage and pricing.


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