Lombardo 2.18Buildings use energy from the electric grid to power lights, provide heat and air conditioning, to run computers and other devices. Zero energy buildings generate their own. It has been almost a year since ground was broken on Millersville University’s first net zero energy building, The Lombardo Welcome Center, which is scheduled to open later this month. Here’s what you need to know about the new building and zero energy buildings in general.

Lombardo 2.18aWhen the 13,600 square foot Lombardo Welcome Center opens, it will be one of only 10 Zero Energy Emerging buildings in  the state of Pennsylvania, and one of only 415 in North America, according to the International Living Future Institute website. According to a New Buildings Institute report, 38 percent of these are in education.

For those who would like a more interactive experience with the new building, an energy dashboard located in the lobby will break down energy use by location within the building (e.g. presentation room, lobby, offices) and by system (e.g. lighting, heating, devices). This dashboard will be a more comprehensive complement to the current energy dashboard, which monitors energy consumption by building on campus.

“Measurement is critical for understanding how energy is used, over time and by location.  We now have a much better understanding of how much each building costs us to operate, how much carbon dioxide they’re generating, how much energy use varies over the course of the day and seasonally,” says Sustainability Manager, Chris Steuer.

Energy use is tracked in 15-minute intervals in the 40 biggest buildings on campus and on a monthly usage average in all other buildings. Doing so helps us find ways to save energy, which saved the University $120,000 last year and will likely save even more this year.

Here are some facts about the Lombardo Welcome Center:

  • Lombardo is an educational center where the community can go and learn about Millersville, sustainability and emerging energy technologies.
  • The building will be 60 percent more energy efficient than most buildings on campus.
  • Lombardo is a demonstration of the University’s commitment to taking action on climate and achieving carbon neutrality.
  • The new Welcome Center will include a presentation room for prospective students on campus tours.

Achieving Zero Energy certification requires monitoring energy use at the Lombardo Welcome Center for an entire year to demonstrate that it has generated as much energy as it has used over that period.

 

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