Cool response to new product
One of the men behind the first Net-Zero school in the United States says he has had a cautious response from the New Zealand building industry.
A Net-Zero building is one that roughly produces as much energy as it uses.
While in Queenstown launching his insulated concrete form-based product Nudura, Canada-based Murray Snider said the Net-Zero school came about by accident.
His company became involved in the building of its first school in the US as their product was sold as a quick build.
The price of steel had skyrocketed and the project managers were running two months behind schedule.
Without trying, the school dropped its energy use per student to less than half of the expected rate, he said.
When architects ShermanCarter-Barnhart prepared plans for Richardsville Elementary, in Kentucky, with a $15 million budget, the company added LED lighting and building orientation to capture most day light, Snider said.
‘‘They brought this building down to a level of energy usage that the demand for power was so low they thought they could build it within the budget and have enough money to put solar panels to put on the roof.’’
Once it was completed Richardsville Elementary was able to harvest enough energy to create more energy than it needed and send 300 kilowatts of power back to the grid, the company’s website says. That generated a cheque of about $4000 a month to the school.
‘‘The average US Elementary School’s utility bill for one month is approximately $7000.’’ While in Queenstown, Snider and local representative Chevy Chisholm had meetings with architects, engineers and builders and had a mixed response.
‘‘We had a meeting this morning with one big firm in town and they just said they will continue building the way they always have.’’
Snider said such responses were human nature.