UH Mānoa breaks ground on first net zero energy buildings
University of Hawaii, July 9, 2015. Image credit: kkmm
On June 15, 2015, contractors broke ground for the installation of two 1,500 square foot, net zero energy classrooms, for the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) College of Education. Funded by the University’s Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) through a grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) these net zero structures are part of a multi-year effort to characterize the effect of usage and building design on energy demand. These classrooms, designed and installed by Project Frog, a California architecture company, will be energy neutral, meaning they will generate at least as much energy as they will use. Site work, hardscape, and landscaping are funded by the UHM Office of Planning and Facilities.
These classrooms, intended to be research platforms, are factory fabricated then assembled on site, reducing overall construction costs and time. Energy for the classrooms will be provided by 5 kW photovoltaic (PV) arrays mounted on each of the two rooftops.
The classrooms will also incorporate a real-time dashboard that will display current and past operating conditions, including comfort indicators such as temperature and humidity, as well as energy use by the different components such as lighting, ceiling fans, air conditioning, and plug loads. The dashboard, intended as an educational tool, will also help users visualize the energy usage and generation with hopes to fostering more efficient behavior.