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Idaho's First Commercial Zero Net Energy Building

Zero net energy is happening in Boise – Driven by the city’s commitment to leadership in sustainability through innovative policies and projects, this net-zero space represents a milestone in achieving the city’s aggressive goal of designing all new city owned buildings as zero net energy, and reducing overall energy consumption in all existing city buildings by 50% by 2030.

Aerial view of a building with solar panels on the roof, surrounded by gravel parking lot.


Aerial view of green fields surrounded by brown fields with building in the center.


Aerial view that shows outbuildings and vehicles on a farm, surrounded by green fields and brown crop rows.


The new zero net energy building will act as the hub for the Twenty Mile South biosolids application site. An innovative and environmental landmark in Boise, the application site has been owned and operated by the City of Boise since 1994 and receives nutrient-rich biosolids from the city’s two main wastewater treatment plants: Lander Street and West Boise.  After the wastewater undergoes both mechanical and biological filtration methods, the treated water is released into the Boise River. The remaining solids are trucked to the application site. The solids are treated, turned into fertilizer, and applied to fields for growing forage crops, primarily corn, alfalfa, and winter wheat. The yields are then sold to farmers and the revenue is reinvested in the city’s sewer fund to help keep rates low for Boise City’s rate payers.

In 2015, the city undertook the construction of a new facility designed to meet the LEED GOLD standards and become the first commercial Zero Net Energy facility in Idaho. The energy the new building uses, on an annual basis, is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created onsite.

Building features include highly efficient ground-source geothermal heating and cooling, LED lights with occupancy and daylight sensors, water efficient landscaping, energy-efficient windows, fully encapsulating insulation, and an EcoScreen dashboard, which allows employees to track building operation stats and energy use in real time. To offset the small amount of energy consumed by the building, electricity is generated by 198 solar panels on the roof.

The state-of-the-art building will serve as a pilot for evaluating the energy footprint of future city buildings.

More information: Press Release | Handout | Twenty Mile South Biosolids Application Site

Published: October 19, 2016