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San Leandro: PG&E Joins in Celebration of IBEW-NECA Zero Net Energy Facility

PG&E Vice President Laurie Giammona, second from right, toured the facility during Thursday’s opening event. (Photos by Tamar Sarkissian.)

PG&E Vice President Laurie Giammona, second from right, toured the facility during Thursday’s opening event. (Photos by Tamar Sarkissian.)

SAN LEANDRO – The first Zero Net Energy (ZNE) training center was celebrated at a grand-opening event on Thursday (May 30).

The Zero Net Energy Center is a partnership beween IBEW Local 595 and NorCal NECA. The facility will serve as a training center for more than 2,000 apprentice and journey-level electricians in Alameda County as well as a resource for the entire Bay Area.

California Gov. Jerry Brown spoke at the event. And PG&E’s Laurie Giammona, vice president of customer service, praised the collaboration between the union and the utility.

The center, located at 14600 Catalina St., is one of the few Energy Department ZNE-designated buildings in the country and the first achieved by retrofitting an existing commercial structure.

Learn more about the California model for energy efficiency

The project includes wind turbines and solar panels that produce 139 kilowatts of energy to offset the building’s energy use. Inside, energy efficiency retrofits were completed to achieve a 75 percent reduction in energy use compared to other buildings.

“If we’re going to make a dent in our carbon footprint, then what are we going to do with existing buildings?” Byron Benton, the center’s training director, told the San Francisco Business Times. “We want to show what’s possible.”

Don Campbell , executive director of NECA’s Northern California Chapter, said, “This energy savings lowers the ZNE Center’s carbon footprint by 175 tons of CO2 per year, equal to the carbon emitted by 30 passenger vehicles annually as well as a savings of 500 barrels of oil each year.”

NECA is the National Electrical Contractors Association.

About 500 people, including politicians, environment leaders, union officials and workers and others, attended the festive ceremony. Afterward, tours were given of the center.

In a zero net energy building, as much energy is generated as is consumed.

In a zero net energy building, as much energy is generated as is consumed.

U.S. Rep Barbara Lee, state Sen. Ellen Corbett and San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy were among the speakers.

Giammona noted that Californians have saved more than $56 billion over the past 35 years because of energy-focused building codes, appliance standards and utility programs.

“This type of achievement does not happen by simply putting up a few photovoltaic panels on a roof top,” she said. “It requires dedication to a vision; a vision of the future that combines technology, science and engineering. I would like to recognize the IBEW and the NECA for their commitment to the highest standards in innovation and design.”

In addition to partnering on the design of the facility, PG&E will continue sharing curriculum materials developed by PG&E’s Education Centers around smart grid technology and integrated demand-side management, she said.

This story originally appeared on pgecurrents.com.