An innovative Net Zero Energy building retrofit recently performed by a National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) contractor, Pacific Ridge Electric, and IBEW local 332 has turned a local San Jose Union Hall into the newest zero energy landmark in Northern California. Read more about the Union Hall project here »
Pacific Ridge Electric approached NECA’s Energy Conservation and Performance (ECAP) program when first offered the opportunity in early 2016. The ECAP program, working alongside Pacific Ridge Electric, facilitated the energy auditing, economic modeling, conceptual design, IFC drawings, performance bonding and $3.2 million in financing while administering project management services.
As energy markets rapidly change, with environmental concerns and energy sustainability at the forefront, ECAP provides the roadmap for electrical contractors to be driving force behind this change, as evidenced by this project. ECAP offers the skills and services necessary to take an electrical contractor of any size into a market that includes the design and installation of solar arrays, wind farms, energy storage systems, electric vehicle equipment, wastewater treatment plants, irrigation networks, lighting controls and net zero energy buildings.
“This project shows the unstoppable combination of IBEW electricians, NECA contractors, and ECAP,” said Ramsay Stevens, who is the ECAP Program Director.
ECAP demonstrates the energy service contracting business model that is the future of electrical construction. By teaching the basics of prime contracting through working shoulder-to-shoulder with contractor staff, ECAP gives contractors the ability to approach the energy service market in a secure, pragmatic environment by using real-world projects and opportunities.
“This project returns Local 332’s building to legendary status within San Jose,” said Christopher D. Smith (pictured right), Business Developer and Alternative Energy Engineer with NECA and the IBEW. “There are few retrofitted Net Zero Energy buildings in the world, and a project of this magnitude demonstrates the enormous capabilities and importance of IBEW electricians and NECA contractors. In the 21st century, the world is looking for answers to how and who will de-carbonize energy, build a decentralized and sustainable grid, construct the Internet of Things, and electrify our roadways.”
The IBEW 332 Union Hall in San Jose, once boasting the home of the oldest commercial solar array in California, has a plaque mounted outside commemorating the installation in 2001. At the time, the building was cutting-edge in terms of energy efficiency and solar generation, prompting media attention and visits from government officials and foreign representatives. When blackouts plagued the region, the technology in the building kept the lights and computers on, but the technology quickly became outdated. By 2016, the building automation and photovoltaic generation solar array were largely in disarray.
Today, prominent changes have taken shape. The building now features the spelling of "IBEW" in LED wrapped, solar panels on the rooftop. The building is located under the landing path of San Jose International Airport, so airline passengers will see the project day and night.
“It is clearly visible to everyone landing in Silicon Valley, which we think is an efficient and effective way to tell the world about the NECA-IBEW leadership to change energy markets.”
ABOUT THE NECA ENERGY CONSERVATION AND PERFORMANCE PLATFORM
NECA ECAP provides turnkey access to best practice project development, insurance, and financing solutions for energy projects. More information can be found at www.necaecap.com.