Rate this video:
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars

Today, in part three of our Training on Display series, we take you to the west coast, more specifically, the Bay Area – a traditional stronghold for NECA and the IBEW and the Zero Net Energy Training Center. You might think that this leads to a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude when it comes to training – the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In San Leandro, California, where Northern California NECA and IBEW Local 595 aren’t standing still and cashing checks. They’ve just finished building one of the greenest buildings in the world – and they used their own technology, their own know-how and their own money to put it all together.

Stephen Cassidy, Mayor, San Leandro, CA
“San Leandro is a city of 85,000 located in the center of the San Francisco Bay Area. And we’re one of the most diverse cities not only in California but also the nation. We have a rich manufacturing history in San Leandro that we’re very proud of, and we’re also working toward becoming a center of innovation by bringing in new businesses that are linked to the revolutions occurring in wireless tech, advanced manufacturing, and clean energy. NECA and IBEW have been in San Leandro, have been a welcome member of our community for decades. They had to make the decision though to expand to a new location, and we’re very glad that they chose to remain here in San Leandro.”

Victor Uno, Business Manager, Local 595
“Local 595 started its apprenticeship training program just after World War II. So in 1946 we had a program that was state-approved. The initial training was done in the garages of inside wiremen who were just working in the field and wanted to train new apprentices. So from very humble beginnings, we started with training in garages, to now, we have this huge investment in the future training of our new apprentices, and it’s called the Zero Net Energy Center.

Byron Benton, Training Director, Alameda County JATC
“For those of us who have gone through the apprenticeship, this is what made the biggest difference in our lives. So we found a building that we thought suited our needs. The size, a single story. And with that we proceeded down this path to have a training center to meet the needs of the future, an optimum learning environment. As we started in our design process, the idea of zero net energy came up in the conversation. Basically how much energy you use over the course of a calendar year is equal to the energy you produce on site.”

Don Campbell, executive director, Northern California NECA
“We could have easily powered up a building and provided a megawatt of photovoltaics and windmills all through the parking lot. What we did instead was we decided to build a building that was more efficient.”

Byron Benton, Training Director, Alameda County JATC
“So we took this 46,000 square foot building, and the first thing that we looked at with the design team, the architects, the energy consultant – is how do we make the shell of the building as energy-efficient as possible but at the same time, something that was unique to this design.

“To get to ZNE, we needed to install renewable energy on site. We did that two ways, one you can see with the solar photovoltaic panels. But also we added some wind turbines, those are behind me.

“These roof monitors do four functions. The obvious is with the roof monitors sloped 30 degrees facing to the south, they are where the solar photovoltaic panels are mounted.

“Behind me is this roof monitor, you can see it’s red here. No solar PV panels were needed on that particular monitor, but you’ll see these windows painted gray right now. And those are facing on the east and west sides of the roof monitors and they open up to allow the hot air that is in the building to exhaust out through the stack effect. Facing north on these roof monitors are windows that allow the natural light to come in to lighten the spaces below.

“One roof monitor was turned 180 degrees, so the windows were facing south so in the fall and the winter, the sun’s lower in the horizon, the sun comes through the window and heats a wall below, and that’s thermal mass, where we naturally during the fall and winter months bring the heat of the sun into the center core of the north end of the building.

“We incorporated Lutron’s quantum lighting control system in the building. Use of LED lighting, motion sensors, ambient light sensors, daylight sensors to reduce our lighting load, brought our lighting consumption to 50 percent of similar buildings of this size and type.

“Heating and ventilation – we used a system called the variable refrigerant flow system. Without going into too much detail it uses refrigerant to both remove heat from an area, liquid refrigerant expands into a hot gas when it comes into contact with ambient air that is warm. Then we take that hot gas and redirect it to another portion of the building that may need heating. It’s also used to heat the water in water system at the Zero Net Energy center.

Don Campbell, executive director, Northern California NECA
“When you have labor and management working together, when customers hear we’re working together, when the community leaders hear we’re working together, it’s a magical thing.”

Victor Uno, BM, Local 595
“We wanted to invest in our apprentices and journeymen to give them the new technologies and experiences that they will have in the renewable energy fields.”

Stephen Cassidy, Mayor, San Leandro, CA
“Government can’t do it alone. We need to work in partnership with business and with labor and this is a perfect example of how the three groups can come together and create a model for other businesses, other groups, to implement sustainable energy systems, to promote clean energy, and to reduce carbon emissions.”

Powerful words from the mayor of a pretty good-sized town about the impact of the NECA-IBEW team. The ZNE Center opened this fall to apprentices and journeymen in the Bay Area, and initial reactions are extremely positive.

The solar array generates 127 kilowatts of AC power. The wind turbines are generating an additional 12 kilowatts of AC. And when you add all of the green energy in play together, the building is consuming 75% less energy when compared to other similar size and type commercial buildings. That’s good enough for LEED Silver designation from the US Green Building Council.

This type of center represents the NECA-IBEW commitment to training the very best electricians in the very best technologies so they can make money – for you.

While you’re here on the site, why don’t you check out parts one and two of our Training on Display series, found in our archives.