July 2, 2024

First Net-Zero Executive Building Supports Connecticut’s Clean Policies

Following municipal schools and commercial buildings seeking to protect our environment by reducing emissions, Connecticut’s leadership recently highlighted the opening of Connecticut’s new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection western headquarters in Watertown. This is the first “net-zero” executive branch state building in Connecticut, meaning it uses no fossil fuels and produces power as it uses power.

The new DEEP building uses geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, smart building controls and more to achieve these standards. it’s expected to use 40% less energy and 50% less water than an average building, and will consolidate DEEP’s work in the area from 11 buildings in five towns to one centralized location, making travel and communication easier for staff in the process.

The solar panels themselves are designed to provide 105% of the building’s electrical needs, and it was constructed using low-carbon, recycled concrete and sustainably harvested wood, as well as designed to incorporate water-use reduction to halve its water use compared to other buildings.

This building comes about five years after an East Windsor building was claimed to be the state’s first net-zero commercial building. Earlier this year, Manchester’s Buckley Elementary School was named Connecticut’s first net-zero school, as well as the first in New England; it was followed shortly after by Mansfield Elementary School. Companies are also working to build net-zero homes statewide.

“We need to stop thinking that being environmentally conscious when designing buildings is just a feel good issue,” said State Senator Rick Lopes, Senate Chair of the Environment Committee. “There are comprehensive and solid cost savings to the owners when a building is built this way. Good for the environment and good for the bottom line. We need to continue down this win win path.”

This is one part of the state’s efforts to reduce use of greenhouse gases and fossil fuels to keep our air clean; leaders are additionally working to adopt more electric vehicles and considers energy efficiency and sustainability key to Connecticut’s future.

Posted by Joe O’Leary