Zero energy offices are designed to consume as little energy as possible and rely on a renewable energy source for their energy needs. Today, more businesses are opting for zero energy offices because of their increased savings, reduced environmental impact, and positive impact on occupants.

Bullitt Center

The Bullitt Center is a 52,000-square-foot commercial office building located in Seattle, Washington. The Bullitt Center generates as much energy from rooftop photovoltaics each year as the six-story structure uses. The building also collects all of its water, including drinking water, from the rain that falls on its roof — which is stored in a 56,000-gallon cistern. Once the water is used inside the building, it is treated and then returned to the soil.

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Called the "greenest office building in the world," the Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington, generates its own electricity and its own water, collected from rain falling on the roof. Opened on Earth Day in 2013, the Bullitt Center has been nicknamed a "Living Building." Natasha Mozgovaya visited the green building to see for herself what makes it so unusual. Anna Rice narrates the report.
VOA News
Exterior of the Boulder Commons building, with two people standing in front of it, as well as a bicycle rack.
Boulder Commons is a 100,000-square-foot, four-story office building in Boulder, Colorado.
Photo by Bruce Damonte

Boulder Commons

Boulder Commons is a 100,000-square-foot, four-story office building in Boulder, Colorado.

Boulder Commons is Colorado’s first multi-tenant office space with a zero energy goal. This Class A building delivers rental rates that are competitive to other buildings in the area. Tenants benefit from the innovative design that promotes wellbeing and aligns with their sustainability values.

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Cincinnati District 3 Police Headquarters

Cincinnati District 3 Police Headquarters is the first mission-critical zero energy building in the United States. Energy conservation is prioritized because the additional operating hours lead to more energy consumption than a typical zero energy building.

District 3 Station building exterior.
© Dish Design

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Research Support Facility (RSF)

The RSF, which is located on the main campus of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, was completed in June 2010. It is a showcase for a sustainable, high-performance design that incorporates the best in energy efficiency, environmental performance, and advanced controls using a “whole building” integrated design process.

The building serves as a model for cost-competitive, high energy performance commercial buildings for the nation’s design, construction, operation, and financing communities. The RSF is also a living laboratory for EERE’s buildings technologies, providing real-time data that allows researchers to discover opportunities for improved performance.

The main entrance of the Research Support Facility.
The main entrance of the Research Support Facility.
Photo by John De La Rosa / NREL

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The 300 Building

The 300 Building is an example of the value of public-private partnership delivery method for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This LEED Silver office building includes a large food service area, a modern work environment, and outdoor walking trails.

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Learn about the home of the Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the state Department of Education.

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CMTA Inc. Lexington Office

CMTA Inc., a consulting engineering firm, showcases their skills and commitment to high-performance design in their Lexington office. Individually metered systems (HVAC, lighting, and receptacles) provide real-world data for the firm to evaluate the effectiveness of each system.

CMTA Lexington office exterior.
Courtesy of Batto Photo.

DPR Construction – Retrofitting Buildings for Zero Energy

DPR Construction is demonstrating a path to zero energy by purchasing existing buildings and retrofitting them for their regional offices.

San Diego, California, Regional Office. DPR purchased the 34,000-square-foot and 25-year-old industrial office building and transformed it into a zero energy building. The retrofit included rooftop tubular daylighting, natural ventilation, and other energy-saving features.

Phoenix, Arizona, Regional Office. DPR located an older retail building and was able to keep 94% of the original shell and structure intact. Glass was added to the north and eastern facades to bring in natural light.

San Francisco, California, Regional Office. DPR transformed a 24,000-square-foot structure into a net-positive energy building.

Reston, Virginia, Office (DC Metro Area). DPR renovated a building that had been empty for over seven years. They took an average building envelope and turned it into a zero energy building.

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Cover of the Houston/Houston Advanced Research Center report, and the Pittsburgh/Frick Environmental Center summary.

Zero Energy Building Highlights: Houston, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta

Three national laboratories explored the strategic designs, systems, and technologies used to minimize energy use and generate clean energy in three small office buildings at sites near Houston, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta. The series of reports and summaries looks at the coordinated planning, intelligent installation, and continuous monitoring that goes into achieving zero energy status with new construction (the Houston Advanced Research Center and Pittsburgh’s Frick Environmental Center) or retrofit (ASHRAE Global Headquarters near Atlanta—coming soon).