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COTE Presents: From Zero Net Energy (ZNE) to Zero Net Carbon (ZNC): Designing Nonresidential Buildings in California (Part 1)

October 21, 2020 @ 12:00 pm 2:00 pm


Part 2: October 22, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM



Registration link below separate registration required for each session


Take the first step in learning more about Zero Net Energy and Zero Net Carbon for Nonresidential Buildings in California

Zero net energy (ZNE) has gained traction in the commercial industry and is now an attainable goal for nonresidential buildings. In 2007, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted goals to have all new commercial construction in California to be zero net energy by 2030. Lately tides have changed, and the conversation is shifting from kilowatts to carbon due to California’s climate goals. There is a need to design, construct and operate buildings that use little or no energy on an annualized basis and emit little or no carbon emissions. This class will introduce attendees to design strategies and sustainability frameworks that help achieve these goals in the commercial sector – such as building electrification – and also shed light on ZNE buildings’ interaction with the utility grid.

Learning Outcomes:

• Understand definitions of ZNE and which definition to pick for your building • Understand drivers of ZNE and zero net carbon (ZNC) in policy and their benefits to building owners and the greater population.

• Learn in depth the five-step approach essential to zero design; target, reduce, recover, produce and offset.

• Understand common design challenges faced on projects and how to overcome these.

• Learn strategies and technologies to electrify buildings and mitigate impacts on the grid through battery storage and other strategies for grid harmonization.

• Advanced topics (community scale ZNE)


Zara Fahim, Senior Energy Engineer, Arup

Zara is a Senior Energy Engineer at Arup, who is responsible for energy and sustainability consulting for large commercial projects as well as university campuses and school and college districts. Zara has nine years of experience working on sustainability projects and multiple energy feasibility studies on cogeneration plants and solar projects in particular. She has worked on numerous retro-commissioning, energy auditing projects as well and is proficient at energy modeling in softwares like IES, Trane Trace, Energy Pro and Equest. She is a California licensed Professional Engineer (PE), LEED AP EBOM and Certified Energy Manager. Zara was born and raised in Pakistan, where she received her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering before moving to the U.S. to pursue her masters from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. While pursuing her degree, Zara worked as a Graduate Research Assistant. Her research focused on studying the energy performance of a campus building and reducing building operating costs by recommending operation and maintenance measures. When not working, Zara loves spending time in the kitchen baking and cooking for her family.

Martin Howell, Associate Principal, Arup

Martin Howell sits within Arup’s Energy and Sustainability Consulting group in Los Angeles and is an industry leader in assessing and applying low carbon approaches to meet the needs of his clients.  His work ranges from planning through to implementation and into operation. He has consulted with a wide range of clients across multiple sectors, delivering planning and implementation projects that focus on decarbonizing the built environment and the infrastructure that serves this. Martin’s expertise is broad, covering renewable energy and distributed energy resources, retro-commissioning and building efficiency, central utility plants and microgrids. Martin has lectured on energy and sustainability at USC, UCLA, SCIARC, ASHRAE and the USGBC Greenbuild National Conference amongst others.