Caribbean's first net zero building opens at university

The first net zero energy building in Jamaica and the Caribbean has opened on the University of the West Indies' (UWI) Mona Campus.

The 2,300-square-foot structure is designed as a model to encourage construction of sustainable and energy-efficient buildings throughout the region, reports the Jamaica Observer

As a prototype, it will demonstrate emerging and best practices in the built environment as it relates to energy efficiency, renewable energy and environmental design.

The building will house the Centre for Advanced Research in Renewable Energy (CARRE), the first such center in the Caribbean, promoting research in photovoltaic (solar), wind and biomass energy.

A net zero building is one where the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. The long-term benefits are lower environmental impact and operating and maintenance costs, better resiliency to power outages and natural disasters, and improved energy security.

It is estimated that more than half of the electricity produced is consumed by buildings, with 10 to 20 percent of total life-cycle use going into the manufacture and assembly of building material, construction, maintenance, refurbishing and demolition. Eighty to 90 percent of energy consumed over the life of the building is for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation.

Officials said that energy consumption and production will be monitored for one year, and the results submitted to an international accreditation body for zero energy building certification.


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