The Electrical Worker online
July 2013

Calif. Local 595 Opens the Zero-⁠Emissions Training Center
index.html Home    print Print    email Email

Go to

Dublin, Calif., Local 595's new training center opened May 30, instantly becoming one of the most efficient and technologically advanced buildings in the country and the first commercial building retrofit to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as "zero net energy."

Over the course of a year, the Zero Net Energy Center produces as much energy as it uses by generating energy from solar cells and wind turbines on and around the building and by radically reducing the energy use — 75 percent less than similar existing commercial buildings.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 500, Gov. Jerry Brown said the 46,000 square-foot facility is the wave of the future.

"This is really big," Brown said. "We need thousands of these buildings … creating millions of new jobs."

State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett said the center sets the standard for the world.

"It offers the East Bay something to boast about to the state and the nation," Corbett said.

Local 595 Business Manager Victor Uno said the event was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the skills and values of the IBEW.

"We wanted to build a new facility that showed more than the skills and knowledge of our IBEW members," said Uno. "We wanted to demonstrate our commitment to energy conservation and sustainability. We are helping to move California's energy policies forward."

America's 120 million buildings use 72 percent of the nation's electricity, and more total energy than manufacturing or transportation. Six years ago, the California Energy Commission released new building standards requiring all new commercial construction to match the zero-net standard by 2030.

Uno said he and Training Director Byron Benton wanted to make sure Local 595's members were on top of the on-site power generation, building automation and efficiency technologies that would make that goal possible. But there was a problem: they didn't fit the existing training center. It was too small.

The decision was made to start over and build the technologies they wanted to teach about into the very building where they would do the teaching.

"This isn't about powering up. We powered down," Uno said. "This is where we need to go for energy independence and to comply with California policy, and with this building, it is where we are."

Uno says Local 595 is sending a message to Bay Area businesses that IBEW electricians are part of the region's embrace of next generation building technologies, but he insists it is a message that any local can use.

"We do automation and lighting control. We do renewable energy generating," Uno said. "This is IBEW work."


The solar panels and helical wind turbines of Dublin, Calif., Local 595's new training facility, the Zero Net Energy Center.

How It Reaches Net-Zero:

Windmills and solar panels produce up to 139 kilowatts of power

75 percent reduction in energy use compared to similar U.S. buildings

50 percent lighting energy reduction

80 percent HVAC energy reduction

90 percent computer energy reduction

29 percent energy use reduction compared to new commercial construction in California