Los Altos, California is the home of the world’s largest certified net zero building — which opened their doors back in October 2013. This super green building works as host for the headquarters of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

The Packard Foundation, designed by EHDD, received their certification through the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). Tracking their metered data and going through the verification process, ILFI gave one of its few certifications to this building and continues to seek out other projects and buildings to add to the list.

Net zero energy buildings would be an awesome green trend we’d like to see.

What’s it mean to be a net zero energy building?

Through its design, building and operation, a net zero energy building produces as much energy on site as it consumes. Over the course of a year, this means the building itself will not use energy it can’t produce during this time.

“The metric by which we measured this target was  ‘energy use intensity’ (EUI) in kBTU/sf. Between July 2012 and July 2013 the building used 22kBTU/sf — which is 58% less than a similarly situated, code-compliant building and 76% better than a typical American office building per square foot,” says EHDD. 

EarthTechling reported back in October that as of then, this headquarters building met their target of being a net zero building.

“It has achieved its goal of being a net zero energy building by generating more than enough electricity to meet its needs during the first full year of occupancy,” EarthTechling reported.

Let’s talk about the energy efficiency going on with this green building

With energy efficiency as the focus during the design and build, this sweet green building has many creative features that helped achieve its net zero status.

  • There are 915 rooftop solar panels set to produce electricity
  • A rainwater collection system has been set up for optimal water efficiency and stores up to 20,000 gallons for irrigation
  • Excellent use of daylighting and natural light
  • Clever efficient heating and cooling methods (chilled beam technology)
  • Thoughtful waste management: 95% of construction waste got recycled

The Packard Foundation could be looked at for inspiration for folks interested in designing green buildings. Their energy efficiency efforts are something businesses should take into consideration when they’re looking to set sustainability initiatives for themselves. After all, this is just evidence that net zero energy buildings can do good and look gorgeous.

Pretty neat, eh?

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Image credit: EHDD.com