Training center for electricians in L.A. focuses on net zero technologies

The Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute will demonstrate the future of smart energy efficiency, micro-grid system integration, energy storage solutions, resiliency, and advanced controls.

June 26, 2015 |
Training center for electricians in L.A. focuses on net zero technologies

The transformation of the 142,000-sf Electrical Training Center—which was formally announced 11 months ago—should be completed by Spring 2016. Rendering courtesy NECA

Construction has begun Los Angeles County on what is being called the nation’s largest Net Zero Plus retrofit of a commercial building.

The transformation of the 142,000-sf Electrical Training Center—which was formally announced 11 months ago—should be completed by Spring 2016. (Its grand opening is scheduled for April 21—Earth Day of that year.)

It will be renamed the Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute, and the building will demonstrate the future of smart energy efficiency, microgrid system integration, energy storage solutions, resiliency in the wake of a natural disaster or grid interruption, and advanced lighting controls and automated building management systems.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11, with more than 13,000 members; and the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, which represents more than 400 electrical contractors in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, are investing $13 million into this retrofit. The General Contractor on this project is Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based PDE Total Energy Solutions, and the Electrical Contractor is Chatsworth, Calif.-based O’Bryant Electric.

California’s latest construction codes call for all new commercial buildings to be built to net zero standards by 2030. To that end, the union and association have also launched their Net Zero Plus initiative to accelerate the shift toward a clean-energy economy. This initiative is intended to help the building industry improve grid reliability, implement energy storage solutions, as well as advance energy independence, security, and building control. The initiative also aims at reducing the environmental impacts of commercial buildings, reduce electricity costs, and provide better analytics.

The Training Center instructs over 4,000 apprentices and journeymen electricians annually. The retrofitted facility “will set the standard for training as a replicable model for other electrical training centers around the country,” said Marvin Kropke, the Local’s business manager.

Den Henrich, president of PDE Total Energy Solutions, estimates that the retrofit would reduce the building’s energy consumption by between 15% and 30%. The retrofit will include the installation of one megawatt of solar photovoltaic panels, with two arrays on the roof and two solar shade systems with a charging station in the parking lot.

The energy usage reduction is projected to be 250,000 kWh per year, and the building will have the capacity to produce about one megawatt of energy. The building is also expected to achieve a 28.5-ton annual reduction in CO2 emissions.

The training center is working with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to develop, test, and implement strategies that lead to the adoption of energy efficient technologies with the utility’s customers, said David Jadot, PE, LADWP’s director.

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