Cool re­sponse to new prod­uct

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

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.

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