Mud City Press

THE LANE COUNTY COMMONS

There is enough roof space for PV panels at the fairgrounds site to create more electricity than it can use during peak hours of sunlight. This is simple enough. The challenge, however, is to use the most efficient combination of PV panels and other energy creating and saving applications to go entirely off the grid all the time.

Renewable Energy
Photovoltaic Panels

Zero Net Carbon, Zero Net Energy

Overview: Concerns for peaking oil production and rising fossil fuels costs are rapidly changing the budgeting priorities for individuals, families, and business of all kinds. In addition to direct energy expenditures, the external costs of carbon emissions are also pressing heavily on the management of planet earth and its economy. Worries about climate change and air pollution underscore the need for clean, renewable, and efficient energy sources.

While a large portion of Lane County's energy comes from renewable, clean hydroelectric generation, there is still need to increase building heating and cooling efficiencies, make use of renewable energy sources, and minimize use of fossil fuels.

One particularly ambitious goal for the Lane County Commons is to have a zero net carbon, net zero energy campus with the capacity for complete off-the-grid operation. To achieve this goal, it will be necessary to use a highly integrated, hybrid of renewable energy technologies, high efficiency construction methods, and thoughtful landscape design throughout the campus.

Education is one of the site's primary objectives. Applications of cutting edge alternative technologies will be configured to serve as funcutional demonstrations or to facilitate workshops, with an emphasis on how these technologies can intersect with plant life, livestock, and waste streams in ways that are either energy positive or lead to energy conservation.

Implementation: The creation of a zero carbon, zero net energy facility will be a challenging feat of engineering and planning, as well as a valuable learning experience in itself. Some of the most important strategies for achieving this goal are listed below:

Energy Design Objectives