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First LEED Zero Building Certified


By Greg Zimmerman Green
Petinelli headquarters
Petinelli

The U.S. Green Building Council launched its LEED Zero certification last November at Greenbuild as a way to recognize buildings that have zero impact in at least one of four categories: energy, carbon, water, and waste.

Just a few short months later, the first LEED Zero building has been certified. The building is a 4,700-square-foot headquarters building for design firm Petinelli located in Curitiba, Brazil.

While the building, a converted two-story warehouse originally built in 1980, is relatively tiny, its environmental initiatives to get to LEED Zero hold lessons for facility managers in larger buildings. First, the building was certified at the Platinum level with LEED v4 Operations and Maintenance. Its minuscule energy intensity of 25 kilowatt-hours per square meter per year made it easier to cover its entire energy spend with a 15-kW photovoltaic array. In fact, the solar array generates 25 percent more electricity than the facility needs.

That’s an important lesson: To get to net-zero energy, it’s important that a facility be as energy efficient as possible, that way renewables can be sized appropriately, saving cost.

The firm’s managing director, Guido Petinelli, says that LEED Zero for water is his next goal. “We have been off the grid on water for almost two years now,” he said. “We harvest and treat rainwater as a source for potable water.” The building already uses 100 percent of its wastewater for irrigation and toilet flushing.

Greg Zimmerman is executive editor of Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on how buildings are tackling climate change.

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